Are you getting very upset over how much you’ve spent on Christmas presents?  Does having to spend time with your mother-in-law, brother-in-law or obnoxious cousins over the holidays really get your blood boiling?  Has the stock market roller coaster caused your heart to skip a beat?

If you’re concerned that these issues – or anything else – have driven your blood pressure up, well, the Guilford County Division of Public Health has your back – or rather, your arm.  The county health department has just begun offering free, walk-in – no appointment necessary – blood pressure checks on Fridays.

The move is part of a broader effort by the Guilford County Division of Public Health to focus on preventative medicine and catch all sorts of medical problems early.  Guilford County Health Director Merle Green said this week that that will be a real focus in 2019 and she added that the health division will be offering expanded services that lead to a healthier Guilford County.

The division has just hired a doctor full-time to be medical director and one point of emphasis is on catching problems early and preventing them from getting worse.

Over the last two years, to take just one instance, Guilford County health staff has focused on preventing teen pregnancy by opening new clinics in both Greensboro and High Point targeting the at-risk teen population.

High blood pressure is another problem that the health department really wants to get a handle on.  High blood pressure has been called the “Silent Killer” because, according to county health officials, many people with the problem experience no symptoms, and regular blood pressure monitoring is essential for them to know if something troubling is going on.  Health officials add that some issues can be treated with diet, exercise and stress management; and they say regularly monitoring your blood pressure will provide some valuable information.

Offering the no-hassle service free, with no appointment necessary, encourages people to learn their condition and it allows county health workers to interact with those citizens – hopefully in the early stages of the disease when problems are more manageable.

The health division is offering the blood pressure checks between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at two sites every Friday that county offices are open.  The division’s office at 1100 E. Wendover Ave. in Greensboro will provide the service and, in High Point, the Friday checks will be conducted at 501 E. Green Dr.

All people have to do is show up at the reception desk unannounced.  The county is promising relatively “quick” service.

At the end of the test, county health staff will write your blood pressure numbers down on a small card.  If the results are alarming, you’ll also get a card that contains the names and contact information of medical practices where you can seek treatment.