If you'd rather be set on fire than exercise, have trouble fitting into your "fat" jeans and do not see your physician on a regular basis you might want to skip the Jeopardy re-run and read this article. You might be placing yourself at jeopardy to develop high blood pressure.
The Silent Killer
The coronary cops and all members of the public should be on the
lookout for hypertension also known as the “silent killer”. Got your attention? Good.
This article may save your life.
In order to determine whether or not your blood pressure is high you
need to know more about blood pressure and hypertension.
Blood pressure is simply the force of blood against the artery walls as
blood is circulated through the body. Blood pressure is measured at two points. The first point is when the heart beats and
pushes blood into the arteries. This is
known as systolic pressure. Systolic
pressure is when the pressure in the arteries is at its greatest.
The second measurement is called diastolic pressure. This measurement is taken when the heart is
between beats and the pressure in the artery walls is at its lowest.
Blood pressure measurements are written with systolic results over
diastolic results. For example, your
blood pressure might be recorded as 110/75. Then again, your blood pressure
might be recorded as 140/100.
High blood pressure or hypertension simply means that your heart has to
work harder to pump blood through your circulatory system. If left untreated high blood pressure can
cause serious health problems such as: enlargement of the heart, hardening of
the arteries, kidney failure, stroke and eye damage that can result in
Who Is at Risk For Hypertension?
Anyone can have hypertension. It is estimated that over 50 million
people in the United States have high blood pressure. However, there are
individuals who are considered more at risk to develop hypertension.
They are: African-Americans, people over 60 years of age, obese
individuals, those individuals who have an unhealthy lifestyle which includes
smoking, ingestion of too much salt or fatty foods, high consumption of
alcohol, excessive stress on a daily basis and those people who have
consistently high normal blood pressure readings.
It is estimated by the medical community that at least 20% of all
adults have hypertension. It is also
estimated that 60% of senior citizens have hypertension. What is of concern to physicians is that
many people are unaware that they have problem.
What Causes Hypertension?
The cause of hypertension is unknown. Research indicates that the incidence of
hypertension increases with age and body weight. Many people are under the impression that only obese people have
hypertension. This is not the
case. It is important for all healthy
young adults to have their blood pressure recorded on an annual basis. As people age or have difficulty with other
health issues it is extremely important that their blood pressure be monitored
How to Get an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading
One high blood pressure reading does not necessarily mean
that you are hypertensive. In order to determine that you have high blood
pressure you should take several readings over a few days and then average them
to determine your actual blood pressure.
In order to make sure that your blood pressure reading is
not being affected by extraneous factors you should be aware of the following
things that can affect your blood pressure.
It is very important that the blood pressure cuff fit your
arm correctly when a blood pressure reading is being taken. The cuff should be snug but not tight. If the blood pressure cuff is too tight an
extremely high blood pressure reading can occur.
If your arm circumference is greater than 16 inches your
blood pressure should not be taken using a standard cuff. Instead, a larger cuff should be found or
the standard sized cuff can be placed over the forearm and blood pressure can
be determined by listening to the pulse at the level of the wrist.
You should rest for approximately five minutes prior to
having your blood pressure taken.
You should inform the person taking your blood pressure if
you are taking diet pills, any cold remedies, decongestants or allergy
pills. These medications can elevate
your blood pressure.
You should not smoke or drink caffeine 30 minutes prior to
having your blood pressure checked.
Again, false results may occur.
If possible clothes should not be tight as anything
constricting could possibly affect your blood pressure reading.
In order to achieve an optimal blood pressure reading you
should sit with your back straight, your feet flat on the floor and have your
arm supported at the level of your heart.
You should also be aware that you may suffer from” white
coat syndrome." Research indicates that people often feel anxious, angry
or fearful when they visit their physician, because they feel they will be
reprimanded for their lifestyle. Those
10 extra pounds that you're worried your physician will mention may cause your
blood pressure reading to elevate.
With so many factors and variables that can affect blood
pressure it is important to have an accurate profile of the person’s blood
pressure readings before any decisions regarding treatment are made.
Your Blood Pressure Profile
Normal: It is important to note that blood pressure varies from
person-to-person depending on a variety of factors. Keeping this in mind, an ideal blood pressure reading is
considered to be 120/80.
High Normal: If you fall into the high normal range your blood pressure
readings may range from 130/85 to 139/85.
Stage One Hypertension: If you fall in this category your blood pressure readings
will range from 140/90 to159/99. At
this stage your physician may recommend some lifestyle changes. They include: losing weight, exercise,
quitting smoking, dietary and alcohol restrictions. If these modifications to not lower your blood pressure readings
your family physician may prescribe medication.
Stage Two Hypertension: If you have blood pressure reading in the range of 160/100 to
179/109 you have Stage Two Hypertension. Stage Two Hypertension is usually
caused by another health problem. Some
red flags to alert you to the possibility of Stage Two Hypertension are: blood
pressure increases suddenly, increased blood pressure occurs before the age of
30 or after the age of 55, after a period of good control blood pressure rises
rapidly, blood pressure is consistently measured at 180/110 and blood pressure
medications do not control your hypertension.
Stage Three Hypertension: A blood pressure reading of 180/110 or higher places you in
the Stage Three Hypertension range. If your blood pressure reading is this high
you need to seek medical attention immediately.
Treatment for High Blood Pressure
Once a problem with high blood pressure is identified
treatment can begin. Physicians now
have a wide variety of drugs to choose from to correct this problem.
Drugs will usually be prescribed only after lifestyle
modifications are unsuccessful. The
physician’s role is to identify a drug that is going to be successful in
lowering his patient’s high blood pressure.
Sometimes a single drug therapy is not successful in controlling blood
pressure. After a trial period
physicians may choose to combine medications to better control their patient’s
high blood pressure.
Factors that physicians usually consider when prescribing
medication are: price, are the drugs tolerable and which drugs can control
blood pressure with minimal side effects.
Physicians report that 50% of first-time heart attacks are
hypertensive. They also report that
two-thirds of stroke patients are significantly hypertensive.
Taking Care of Yourself
We are all guilty of drinking too much coffee, eating too
much food and spending too much time in front of the TV. Obesity is on the up rise in every developed
country in the world. The complications
that may result from this alone are staggering. Do not ignore your health.
Visit your doctor to see if you have problem with high blood
pressure. If you don't look after
yourself you may fall victim to the silent killer.