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Small Steps Add Up to Lower Blood Pressure

By |2024-05-10T08:42:15-04:00July 12th, 2023|Categories: Health A-Z, Patient Stories|Tags: , |

When Doreen Tornabene of Manalapan began experiencing headaches and lightheadedness years ago, she attributed her symptoms to stress. But a visit to her physician revealed that she had high blood pressure, and she began taking medication to address it.

Knowing that hypertension runs in her family, she recently started using a home blood pressure monitor and noticed that her readings were still high. She then connected with Neftali Flores, Jr., RN, wellness coach coordinator for CentraState’s Hypertension Management Program.

“I can be skeptical and set in my ways, but Neftali’s demeanor, personality, and caring approach clicked with me,” says Doreen. “He made me feel so comfortable that I decided to give this program my all.”

Doreen appreciated Neftali’s straightforward explanations about the serious impact of unmanaged blood pressure on the way the body functions – particularly the heart, blood vessels, brain, and kidneys.

“I don’t think people realize what it can do to you,” says Doreen. “But Neftali helped me understand that it doesn’t have to be that way. I have control over my health, and I can do little things that add up to make a difference.”

Free Coaching

Free to those who qualify based on a hypertension diagnosis or elevated blood pressure readings, the program features six weekly in-person or phone meetings with personalized advice. Topics include how to accurately monitor blood pressure and manage medications, along with simple tips to reduce stress, increase activity, and lower sodium and cholesterol intake – all of which can help lower blood pressure.

“The beauty of this program is that we can figure out what resonates with each person, identify attainable goals, and build on those small steps,” says Neftali. “It doesn’t have to be a chore – when something works, it’s more sustainable.”

Doreen’s plan included starting some light exercise, parking at the farthest spot in store parking lots, comparing sodium levels in food labels, and stretching before bed to reduce stress and promote better sleep. By the end of the program, her blood pressure had dropped from 136/94 to 122/80.

“Slow and steady wins the race,” says Doreen. “I feel better, have more energy, and am more proactive about my health.”

For more information on the Hypertension Management Program at CentraState, visit or call 732-308-0570.

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