Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Dangers of Undiagnosed High Blood Pressure

When I went to the doctor recently for my yearly physical I was very happy to hear that I am in excellent health. One of the best results I was given was my blood pressure reading which was in the normal range at 105/70. A new government report indicates that even though many people in the U.S. who suffer from hypertension are receiving medical attention, more than half actually don't have it under control.  The Center for Disease Control report indicates that over 67 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure. However, approximately 36 million don't have their condition under control. In addition, over 22 million adults who don't have their hypertension under control are fully aware they have the condition, and 16 million are on medications to control it, yet their condition is still not under control. The numbers are daunting, but they can be improved. High blood pressure is dangerous because it can lead to heart disease and other organ failure. There are monitors you can purchase at your local drug store that are highly accurate. These will help you keep track of your readings and will help you report results to your doctor for future visits.

Risk factors of high bp include:
  • Being physically inactive
  • Being overweight
  • High salt intake
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Age/Race
  • Insufficient vitamin D and potassium
  • High alcohol intake
  • Insomnia
Blood pressure is recorded in 2 numbers written in the form of a ratio. The following information is provided by the American Heart Association and can be used as a guide for you to go by:

The top number, which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts).
The bottom number, which is also the lower of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).

Blood Pressure
mm Hg (upper #)
mm Hg (lower #)
Normalless than 120andless than 80
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higheror100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180orHigher than 110
* Your doctor should evaluate unusually low blood pressure readings.

It's important that you take charge of your health. There are many foods, especially fruits and vegetables that are high in the vitamins and minerals essential to keeping your blood pressure down. Educate yourself and see the doctor if necessary, but do what you must to improve your health.
Stay happy and healthy everyone!

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