Take Control of Blood Pressure & HyperTension

Could you fall victim to a silent killer? High blood pressure typically has no signs or symptoms.  About 74.5 million people in the United States have high blood pressure, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death. The month of May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month, and now is a great time to schedule that annual physical to make sure you and your children are not at risk. High blood pressure affects about 50 million–or one in four–adults.

Who Has High Blood Pressure?


●       Almost 90% of adults aged 45–64 years will develop high blood pressure during their lifetime.

●       One of every three U.S. adults aged 20 years or older have hypertension.

●       Nearly one of five people have hypertension and are not aware of it.

Health Impact of High Blood Pressure

●       High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.

●       High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for 326,000 Americans in 2006.

●       A diet high in sodium (salt) increases the risk for higher blood pressure. About 77% of the sodium Americans consume comes from processed and restaurant foods.

Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The first (systolic) number represents the pressure when the heart beats. The second (diastolic) number represents the pressure when the heart rests between beats. To help prevent hypertension, blood pressure must be lowered to less than 140/90 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury).  The following is a classification system for blood pressure:

Normal blood pressure systolic: less than 120 mmHg and
diastolic: less than 80 mmHg

Prehypertension systolic: 120–139 mmHg or
diastolic: 80–89 mmHg

High blood pressure systolic: 140 mmHg or higher or
diastolic: 90 mmHg or higher or taking antihypertensive medication

At Swift County Benson Hospital, we take blood pressure checks seriously.  Our home health department measures HBP with every visit, looks at patterns on how it affects the body, and gives patients lifestyle tools on how to control high blood pressure.

Preventing and Controlling High Blood Pressure

●       Have your blood pressure checked regularly.

●       Maintain a normal body weight (body mass index of 18.5-24.9 which is kilograms divided by height in meters squared).

●       Keep up physical activity (2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest,  shoulders, and arms).

●       Follow a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low in sodium.

●       Quit smoking.

●       If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation (≤ 2 drinks per day for men and ≤ 1 drinks per day for women).

Have blood pressure checked and, if it’s high, ask your provider about adjusting medication and make the necessary lifestyle changes to bring it to below 140/90.

New Digital Mammography System Shows CLEAR ADVANTAGE

“The new Selenia™ Digital Mammography System is the Gold Standard in technology for mammograms. It is the same digital technology used by the Mayo Clinic organization.”

Mike Heinzig, Radiology Manager at SCBH

Screening digital mammograms can detect changes in the breast two to seven years before they can be felt. That’s the reason our new high definition digital mammography technology offers women so many clear advantages:

  • It’s quicker. There’s no waiting, less repeated imaging and exposure to radiation.
  • Repositioning of the breasts for additional imaging is frequently unnecessary.
  • For younger women and those with dense breasts, screening with digital mammography provides better visualization of the breast tissue.
  • Suspicious areas can be enhanced, magnified and analyzed immediately.
  • In conjunction with the digital mammography unit, Computer-Aided Detection has also been installed. CAD provides a “second read” of the mammogram by a computer. This helps the radiologist in making an accurate diagnosis, like spell check in word processing.

“The digital images are extremely clear and there’s no waiting. The newly designed room is completely private and comfortable. We’re in the room at all times to answer questions,” said Brenda Jensen, Radiology Technologist.

Digital mammography definitely has advantages for the radiologist:

  • Digital mammography is “filmless”, nothing has to be developed.
  • Images are analyzed on a monitor and stored electronically. Of course, hard copies can always be produced if needed.

“American Cancer Society guidelines tell women to have a baseline mammogram at age 40 and annually after that. Over the last few years the ACS has documented a decrease in women having mammograms. Early detection is the key in the fight against breast cancer. I hope this new equipment and more private room will help encourage women to have this important test,” Heinzig added.

To schedule your mammogram, contact Swift County Benson Hospital at 320-843-4232.

Immunizations Are Important

One of the most important things you can do to protect your health is to receive recommended immunizations and flu shots-on time. Vaccines have been proven as one of the most effective tools to help people live longer and have healthier lives. They work by preventing infectious diseases, some of which have the potential to cause long-lasting or permanent health problems, or even death.

Diseases become rare due to vaccinations

At Swift County Benson Hospital, the staff is regularly vaccinated with the appropriate medicine, but there have been cases where patients were admitted and their disease could have been prevented (or the severity decreased) with a single shot.  Some diseases (like polio and diphtheria) are rare because we have been vaccinating against them.

Immunize until the disease is eliminated

What if we stopped vaccinating? Diseases that are almost unknown would come back. Unless we can “stop the leak” (eliminate the disease), it is important to keep immunizing. Even if there are only a few cases of disease, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more people will be infected and spread disease to others. Soon we will undo the progress we have made.  The extensive use of vaccines has proven a major public health success against infectious diseases. By the end of the 20th century, benefits were so dramatic in reducing the suffering, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cited vaccination as the number one public health achievement of the century.

U.S. Flu Facts

*An estimated 10-20% of the population contracts the flu each year.
*Approximately 114,000 excess hospitalizations per year are for flu-related complications.
*Up to 40 million patients require outpatient medical visits for influenza-like illness.
*Approximately 36,000 annual deaths in the U.S. are attributed to influenza complications.
*The highest rates of complications, hospitalizations and deaths occur primarily in patients older than 65.
*Increased rates of complications, hospitalizations and deaths also are observed in young children.
*More than 90% of influenza-related deaths occur in persons 65 or older.

Sources of immunization information:

The National Immunization Program (NIP)
The National Network for Immunization Information (NNii)
The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)

The CDC Contact Center at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) English and Español
Questions about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases frequently asked by people calling the TTY Service Hotline at 1-888-232-6348.

Make sure your vaccinations are up to date and you have had this year’s flu shot.  It may save your life.

Do You Have Some Time? Volunteer!

April is a month that brings many things to mind; spring, warmer weather, tulips, Earth Day, and so much more. However, one thing that the month of April signifies that isn’t mentioned too often is that it celebrates National Healthcare Volunteer Recognition Week, which will take place April 10 – 16, 2011.


Since 1974, National Healthcare Volunteer Week helps to create awareness about volunteerism, but it’s also an opportunity to thank current volunteers.  We celebrate the compassion and dedication our volunteers give each day they spend at Swift County Benson Hospital.

Volunteers play a big role at Swift County Benson Hospital by participating with the residents in many programs. Volunteers are essential for the programs.  Sometimes the simple things, like reading to a resident or a social visit, uplift the spirits the most.

During National Volunteer Week, we honor the ordinary people who give of themselves to accomplish extraordinary things, and we encourage more volunteering. Remember nothing is more golden than the heart of a volunteer-the genuine giving of spirit to help someone else.  If you are interesting in volunteering your time, please call Swift County Benson Hospital at 320-843-4232.

The New IV/Chemo Therapy Rooms at SCBH are AWESOME!

IV/Chemo The results are in…Ione Laycock, RN, therapy nurse, David Johnson, therapy patient, and Deann Johnson, David’s wife and caregiver, all agree the IV and Chemo Therapy program and the new therapy rooms at SCBH are AWESOME.

“Most of the larger hospitals, like Mayo or the University of Minnesota, refer patients who live in this area to SCBH for IV or Chemo therapy treatments. I coordinate these treatments with them and stay in touch with the referring doctors. That’s how I met the Johnsons,” said Ione Laycock.

“When my doctor at Mayo told me he was prescribing IV therapy, I asked him if I could have it in Benson. He checked with SCBH and said there would be no problem coordinating my care with Benson. This saves me time. I’m not away from my business like I would be if I had to drive to Mayo and allows me the flexibility tommer, 2009 schedule treatments around my work plans. That’s important to me,” said Clontarf resident, David Johnson.

“Ione and the scheduling people are exceptional. They are so friendly and make everything convenient for us. I schedule the treatments, and we know if I schedule David for an 8 a.m. treatment, everything will be ready for us at 8 a.m.,” Deann Johnson said. “The rooms are private and comfortable. I watch TV, relax or talk to Ione if I have questions,” added David, “Ione coordinates my care with the Mayo Clinic. She calls them if she has questions. One time there was a discrepancy in my therapy plan, and she called my Mayo doctor to discuss it. He was impressed that she did that.”

“We have two new rooms for IV and Chemo therapy. They are situated off a hallway, so people walking by can’t look in and see who is in the room. Each room has two chairs, so we can accommodate four patients at a time,” Ione said.

Generally, most IV or Chemo Therapy sessions last from 30 minutes to six hours depending on the prescription. “Part of my job is to help patients find resources for their specific condition. Sometimes they need to talk with their pastor, a counselor, or family members. Sometimes I order them specific materials about their condition, sometimes they need home health or some other kind of support. And sometimes they need hugs. It’s all part of my job,” quipped Ione. Deann added, “SCBH is a wonderful healthcare facility for Benson. We are indeed fortunate to have this hospital and service available in our community.”

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