Knowing your body and understanding how body systems function is essential. The blood that pumps constantly to and from the heart throughout the whole body keeps the body systems alive and well. The general well-being of the body determines how well the body pumps (arteries) are working.
High blood pressure also called 'hypertension' is regarded as a silent killer because it doesn’t show any visible or physical symptoms. That means you could have it for months, years and not be aware. It can quietly damage your heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain, and kidneys if it isn't treated. It is known to be a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease and it affects all races, colour and gender. Controlling your blood pressure cuts the risk of stroke and heart attack by 50%!
High blood pressure is when the blood pressure in your arteries is elevated or above normal range and your heart is working harder or beyond normal to pump blood through the blood vessels to the entire body. It is important that you have your blood pressure checked regularly.
The pressure could be higher or lower than normal. Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure or force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels (known as arteries). Your blood pressure reading is based on two measures called systolic and diastolic. The systolic (top) number is the measure of the pressure force when your heart contracts and pushes out the blood. The diastolic (bottom) number is the measure of when your heart relaxes between beats. (www.heartandstroke.ca).
Blood pressure is categorized to be mild, medium and high risk. The normal number is 120/60 and the 120-is called systolic and the bottom number is called diastolic. (Nerenburg et al, 2018)
A systolic reading above 160 or a diastolic above 120, may indicate a hypertensive crisis, which can lead to a stroke, heart attack, or kidney damage. Rest for a few minutes and take your blood pressure again. If it's still that high, call 911. Symptoms you feel could include; severe headache, anxiety, nosebleeds, a sense of doom, difficulty speaking or walking, feel short of breath or experience a “blackout”.
Research has shown that Up to age 45, men are more likely to have high blood pressure than women. This statistic tends to normalize among genders as we grow older, and by 65 it's more common in women (Nerenberg et al, 2018)
Risk factors for high blood pressure include race (African Americans are more likely to have it), heredity/genetics, diet and sedentary lifestyle. Pregnancy and cold medication in some cases my elevate blood pressure.
To keep high blood pressure at bay or lower blood pressure, a low sodium diet is key, exercise and keeping stress at bay is important. Other ways of controlling high blood pressure include losing weight, stop smoking, DASH diet, staying away from excessive alcohol and coffee consumption. Use of medications like diuretics/ water pills, beta-blockers, ace inhibitors calcium-channel blockers, etc.
Make sure you check your blood pressure regularly at home and at your doctor’s office, exercise regularly, sleep well, identify stressors and reduce stress, know the signs when blood pressure gets critical in order to seek immediate attention.
Your health is your wealth! Stay healthy and live well!
Until next month….
^Lola (Founder, D.S.G. Health Consulting Inc.)
Nerenberg, K. A., Zarnke, K. B., Leung, A. A., Dasgupta, K., Butalia, S., McBrien, K., ... & Lamarre-Cliche, M. (2018).
Hypertension Canada’s 2018 guidelines for diagnosis, risk assessment, prevention, and treatment of hypertension in adults and children. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 34(5), 506-525.
www.heartandstroke.ca | www.mayoclinc.org