Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 12 : Spring 2012 - Page 70

Your Blood Pressure What Is Your Doctor Measuring? by Professional Home Nursing Blood pressure is measuring the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as the heart beats and pumps the blood out of your heart to the rest of your body. STATISTICS: 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, but rarely people will complain of a headache. Most people learn they have hypertension at a routine exam or when seen for other health problems. Systolic (top number) measures the pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic (bottom number) measures the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats. Pre-high blood pressure means you are likely to end up with high blood pressure unless you take steps to prevent it. See your doctor and follow the recommendations. You will always have a diagnosis of high blood pressure, once your doctor has determined you have high blood pressure, even after your blood pressure is under control. Do not stop your medications unless your doctor directs you to stop them. You may have high blood pressure if only the systolic (top number) or the diastolic (bottom number) is high. You do not have to be considered high on both numbers to have high blood pressure. Diabetics with a blood pressure of 130/80 or higher are considered to have high blood pressure. 70 SPRING 2012 Potential risk factors for developing high blood pressure include: chronic kidney disease, thyroid disease, sleep apnea, use of asthma corticosteroid, cold relief products, and birth control or hormone replacement medications, pregnancy, family history: males over 45, females over 55, or all Americans over 60, stress, lifestyle such as overuse of alcohol, lack of exercise, smoking, lack of potassium in diet, and Obesity. Complications of high blood pressure include: an enlarged heart that weakens and can lead to heart failure also called CHF, aneurysms which is an abnormal “ballooning” of the wall of the artery, narrowing of the blood vessels in the kidney that can lead to various degrees of kidney failure, narrowing of other blood vessels throughout the body which can limit the flow of blood to the heart, brain and legs, increased risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease or amputations, visual changes Possible treatments include: lifestyle changes and medications, healthy eating that includes reduction in red meats, low-sodium diets (no more than 1 tsp. of salt daily) as well as at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days. This may be achieved by dancing, brisk walking, bike riding, working in a garden, cleaning house, or bowling. Jogging, swimming, or playing sports could be considered more intense exercise and my not be appropriate for everyone. - Any level of exercise should be approved by your physician, manage your stress or learn to cope with stress - limit alcohol drinks: men no more than two a day and women no more than one a day