By John Schaffner

The Buckhead Coalition is offering free blood pressure monitors to all Buckhead multifamily condominium and rental apartment buildings in support of the American Heart Association’s recommendation for regular blood pressure checks through the use of home monitors.

“When the American Heart Association announced the importance of everyone having frequent blood pressure tests, we decided to step forward and make an Omron unit available free of charge to every condominium and rental apartment building in Buckhead,” coalition President Sam Massell said Sept. 16 at the Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta at Piedmont Hospital.

There are 118 elevator-served multifamily buildings in Buckhead, and they have about 18,000 units and 25,000 people, or one-third of the residents of Buckhead, Massell said.

He said the initiative is a partnership among Piedmont Hospital, which is providing much of the funding, the Buckhead Coalition and the local distributor of Omron products, which is providing the monitors at a discount.

“Our mission is to nurture the quality of life in Buckhead,” Massell said. “What can be more important than saving lives?”

Cardiologist Charles Wilmer of the Piedmont Heart Institute said the partnership began in 1997 when the coalition helped get defibrillators into the community. Wilmer said those machines have saved nine lives. “We extend that now to reach out to everyone in Buckhead to have a chance to have their blood pressure checked.”

He said home monitors are more accurate than readings in a doctor’s office “because you have been in traffic, you are nervous, and you get a blood pressure that may be elevated. If you take it at home and it is a little high, you can check it again at another point in the day.”

Also participating in the introduction of the program was Michele Molden, the president and CEO of Piedmont Heart Institute.

For those not covered by the program, Massell noted that the monitors are available through many drugstores for $60 to $100.