BERKELEY HEIGHTS, APRIL 11, 2019 – On May 1, 2019, the Berkeley Heights YMCA, a branch of the Summit Area YMCA, will begin offering the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program, designed to help participants with hypertension lower their blood pressure by following an evidence-based program that combines blood pressure self-monitoring, nutrition education seminars and personalized support.

The Y developed this program to help individuals better manage hypertension and improve their overall health. According to the American Heart Association, more than 80 million Americans have high blood pressure, but less than half have it under control. Research shows that the simple process of checking and recording blood pressure at least twice a month over four months may lower blood pressure in some people with hypertension. In addition, evidence shows that proper nutrition, particularly with a reduction in sodium intake, may help reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

Often referred to as “The Silent Killer”, high blood pressure typically has no warning signs or symptoms, and often leads heart disease and stroke, which are two of the leading causes of death in the United States.

Sign Up for E-News

“The Berkeley Heights YMCA is proud to launch  the Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring program,” said Lisa McQuilkin, Wellness Director of the Berkeley Heights YMCA. “The Y is the leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation’s health and this program is a great example of putting that commitment into action.”

As part of the Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring program, participants will measure their blood pressure at least four times a month for four consecutive months—a minimum of sixteen times—and record their blood pressure readings in a self-selected tracking tool. A nutrition education component will encourage the participants to practice healthier eating habits, including reducing sodium in their diet.

With over 100 YMCA associations offering the program across the United States, the Berkeley Heights YMCA is joining the movement in improving American heart health. Preliminary data shows that 42% of nearly 5800 participants in the program who began with uncontrolled high blood pressure became controlled, with an average change of -11.3 mm/Hg in systolic blood pressure and an average of -6.2 mm/Hg in diastolic blood pressure.  Uncontrolled being defined as greater or equal to 140/90 mm/Hg. An astonishing 94% of participants planned on continuing to self-monitor their blood pressure, while 87% made progress towards health and well-being goals as a result in participating in the program.

“I feel that this program has helped so many to realize how important having a normal blood pressure is. As a result of my participation in the program, I am making better eating choices and I have lowered my blood pressure drastically.”said a participant from the Birmingham Metropolitan YMCA. “I’ve been told I may be ale to come off my medications as soon as within six weeks if this type of progress continues.”

The program is facilitated by Healthy Heart Ambassadors, appointed and trained by the Y, who will show participants how to use a blood pressure monitor, encourage self-monitoring and facilitate monthly nutrition education seminars.

The Berkeley Heights YMCA is looking for adults with high blood pressure who could benefit from participating in this program. Benefits include:

  • A simple, evidence-based program that may lower blood pressure
  • Personalized support and coaching from a Y Healthy Heart Ambassador
  • Tips for maintaining cardiovascular health
  • Easy-to-use, portable self-tracking tool
  • Heart healthy nutrition education seminars

Participants must meet the following criteria to participate in the program: 

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be diagnosed with high blood pressure
  • Must not have experienced a recent cardiac event
  • Must not have atrial fibrillation or other arrhythmias
  • Must not be at risk for lymphedema


BEGINS: MAY 1, 2019


COST: $50

Participants will need a blood pressure cuff for self-monitoring at home for this program.

To register or for more information about the program, visit

Financial Assistance is also available. For more information, please visit

For more information contact Lisa McQuilkin,
(P) (908) 464-8373 ext. 2026 (E)