Former Memphis Basketball Coach Heads Up New Health Campaign - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Former Memphis Basketball Coach Heads Up New Health Campaign

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -

What do more than 240,000 Shelby County residents have in common with Basketball Coach Lionel Hollins?

They have hypertension or high blood pressure.

“In Shelby County, 37-percent of the adult population is already been told they have high blood pressure; that’s more than 240,000 people,” said Debra Bartelli, Healthy Shelby Project Director, “And we know there are more people who have not been diagnosed.”

Doctors diagnosed Hollins when he was 27-years-old.

Hollins added, “You’re young and in shape and you shouldn’t have it so it must be hereditary and you need to get it checked and I started going to a doctor for hypertension and I was given medication.”

He and Healthy Shelby are kicking off the new campaign, “140/90: Living Life Under Pressure,” to raise awareness about the diseases, informing men especially to keep their blood pressure in control, under 140/90.

“Young African American men in particular but all men in general should know exactly what it is and what they’re dealing with, how it affects their body and how it causes strokes and heart attacks, affects the kidneys as well,” said Hollins.

Memphis Radio DJ Jeff Lee knows first-hand the side effects of high blood pressure: He suffered a stroke in 2012 after he stopped taking his high blood pressure medications.

“And I decided I’m feeling normal, I’m feeling great, I’ll stop taking them. Sitting at the dining room table, boom, a stroke hit me,” said Lee, who just started using a walker as he learns to walk again, “Of course my life is changed. I can’t look to be 100-percent what I was but I just look to be what God wants me to be.”

While he relearns how to walk, he is taking steps to raise awareness about high blood pressure and hypertension.

“Hospital bills cost more than my home. I thank God for insurance but it’s not worth it,” said Lee, “Just do what you’re supposed to do on the front end so you won’t deal with what I’m dealing with on the back end.”

Lee also recommends women highly encourage the men in their lives to go to the doctor for annual physicals. He said its his wife that has kept him looking forward instead of at past mistakes.

Hollins said diet, exercise and medication can help those with high blood pressure or hypertension live a long, healthy life.

The coach will be at the “140/90” campaign kickoff event Saturday, June 21, at the Kroc Center at 800 East Parkway S from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be blood pressure screenings, exercise and cooking classes, giveaways like Kroc memberships and Fit-Bits; it’s all free to the public.

In the campaign’s starting lineup also includes STAX Records songwriter and artist David Porter; Southern Heritage Classic Founder and President Fred Jones, Jr.; Nike Director of Community and Business Relations Willie Gregory; and Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church Pastor Rev. Jason Turner.

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