Hello, hello! I am so happy you are here. May is Blood Pressure Awareness Month here on Health Buddy Melissa. In March I focused on Kidney Disease, and in April Stress. You can read all of those posts in my archives. There is some great information there.
So, what exactly is blood pressure anyways? Blood pressure simply put is a measurement of force put on your arteries when your heart beats. There are three things that affect your blood pressure Cardiac Output, Volume, and Resistance.
What is a normal Blood Pressure? In 2017 the guidelines changed which increased the number of people diagnosed with High Blood Pressure. While normal is still considered 120/80, the new guidelines suggest that a number over 130 warrants treatment with medication. Now of course there is some controversy, because now 45% of the USA population can have a diagnosis of Hypertension. Apparently this made a lot of people angry. But, there is good evidence to show that a blood pressure greater than 130/80 increases the risk of several health issues like Stroke, Heart Attack, Enlarged Heart, Kidney Disease, Male Sexuality Issues, and even Eye issues. Anyone who has read this blog knows that I am not a jump on the medication wagon kind of girl. There are other ways to lower blood pressure that does not include medications. That does not mean I am anti medication. If you need medication take it! All through the month of May I will be discussing High Blood Pressure and ways to lower it and prevent it. As we age Blood Pressure naturally rises due to the aging effects on the body.
Maybe you are young and you don’t think this is an issue for you. Think again! According to stats collected by the CDC in 2016 people in the age group 18-39 had a prevalence of HBP of 7.5%, 40-59 was 33%, and age 60 and over 63%. Age 40 is not that old and 1/3 of the population had HBP. Statistically more men than women had HBP. It varies between races and economic statuses as well.
When you go to the doctor your blood pressure may be higher than it normally is. A lot of times it is just because of general nervousness. But, it can be a reason for concern. A simple electronic blood pressure machine can be purchased to check your blood pressure daily and keep a log. In your log note the arm you took the blood pressure in, and time of day. Try to take your blood pressure the same time each day for consistent readings. Do not take your blood pressure right after exercising, after eating, if you are excited or scared until you can be calm. Also make sure you are sitting with your feet flat on the floor, and legs or ankles not crossed. Your arm should be relaxed and at or below heart level. Make sure you have a proper fitting cuff. If you have a big arm be sure and buy a machine with a larger cuff. A Pharmacist can help you pick the right size cuff for your arm.
Always be honest with your doctor, and yourself, of any symptoms or high blood pressure readings you may have. Denying, or ignoring a problem will not prevent any of the health issues I mentioned above.
If you join my Mailchimp mailing list below you can sign up for a free coaching session related to HBP. Check out my Mother’s Day special as well, only available to my mailing list.