downloadAntoinette Harrison said she first noticed her high blood pressure during her pregnancy in the fall of 2014. 

“I had known my blood pressure was too high and it was stressing me out,” said the 28-year-old Mohave Valley resident. “But I never really paid attention until I started taking the CNA course.”

Harrison enrolled into Mohave Community College’s certified nursing assistant (CNA) course earlier this year. While during routine blood pressure checks in class one day, her classmates noticed that her blood pressure was high. Soon after, Harrison was asked to stop by the program’s administrative offices.

“At first, I thought they were going to kick me out of the program because my blood pressure was too high,” Harrison said, laughing.

But instead, she received an unexpected gift.

MCC’s Practical Nursing Club decided to purchase a blood pressure cuff for Harrison.

“It’s just good to keep those kinds of things in check,” said Tabitha Holwell, club president. “It was great that the club members were excited to help her. Although we are in the health care field, sometimes we don’t always pay attention to what is going on with us.”

Harrison said that she has been able to regulate her blood pressure now that she monitors its levels in the morning and evening. She said a balanced diet and regular exercise helps to keep her blood pressure within normal ranges. She noticed that exercise, in particular, was helping to lower her blood pressure.

“That was really nice of them that they did that,” she said. “I kind of got it in control, not all the way, but now it is in better control. How can I take care of someone else, if I can’t take care of myself? Being able to check it does make a huge difference. At first, I wasn’t showing symptoms of high blood pressure, but I did have headaches and I was tired all of the time. Now that my blood pressure is down, I have all of this energy.”