Health Team

Durham free clinic offers blood pressure program

Posted January 17, 2011 5:30 p.m. EST
Updated January 17, 2011 6:15 p.m. EST

CAARE, a nonprofit community-based organization, operates a free clinic in Durham that might end up serving as a national model for treating hypertension with a program called "Check It, Change It."

“We know if we can control blood pressures, we can decrease strokes. We can decrease the incidence of kidney disease and those individuals who end up on dialysis. We can also decrease the amount of heart attacks that occur as well,” Duke University Medical Center cardiologist Dr. Kevin Thomas said.

Duke providers are in partnership with the clinic to bring workers and screening tools out into the community and identify patients like 46-year-old Sadie Scoggins, who like 60 percent of the population has hypertension but didn't know it.

"Coming here was a great help for me because I now have medicine to help me maintain my blood pressure,” Scoggins said.

Medicine was only the first step.

“It’s not enough to give them a pill. You have to teach them how to live, how to change their habits,” CAARE founder Sharon Elliott-Bynum said.

Scoggins started focusing on limited her sodium and salt intake, exercising more and quitting smoking. 

In addition to the clinic, CAARE also offers a food pantry, help for substance abuse, housing for veterans, job readiness training and a GED program.