Monday, May 23, 2016
Why is high blood pressure called the silent killer? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every three U.S. adults, nearly 68 million people, have high blood pressure. Many people do not know they have it due to the non-visible symptoms. For this reason, it is most commonly known as the silent killer.
May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. It is critically important to have your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can increase your risk for heart disease, strokes and other serious health problems.
What Happens When Your Heart Works Too Hard?
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Blood is constantly being pumped into your arteries with every heartbeat. Throughout the day, your blood pressure will naturally rise and fall. However, when it is consistently too high, it is considered a serious medical condition called high blood pressure.
“It is critically important to have your blood pressure measured by a doctor,” Family Medicine Physician Dr. Lee O’Neal says. “There are no obvious signs of high blood pressure and having high blood pressure can cause a list of health issues.”
Know Your Numbers
When blood pressure is measured, it is measured in two numbers, systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure is the force on the blood vessel walls when the heart beats and pumps blood out of the heart. Diastolic pressure is the force that occurs when the heart relaxes in between beats.
Your blood pressure is considered normal when it is less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic. You have prehypertension when it is between 120 and 139 systolic and 80 to 89 diastolic. When your systolic is 140 or greater, or your diastolic is 90 or greater, you have hypertension.
Preventing Hypertension with a Healthy Lifestyle
When you visit your primary care physician, make sure to ask them what your blood pressure should be. Other things patients can do to prevent or help reduce high blood pressure are:
- Take your blood pressure medication as directed.
- Quit smoking – and if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
- Reduce sodium.
“If patients will exercise, maintain a healthy weight and not smoke or quit smoking if they do smoke, they will not only help their blood pressure, but help their overall health as well,” Dr. O’Neal says.
Harbin Clinic cares completely about your health. Be sure to see your primary care physician regularly to monitor your blood pressure and your other key Core Four numbers. To learn more about your blood pressure and overall health, go to www.harbinclinic.com.