Monday, May 9, 2011

May 2011 – the high blood pressure education month

Many people have high blood pressure – some know it, some don’t. I have it and I know it. And I know now that high blood pressure can cause coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and kidney failure. About a billion people worldwide have high blood pressure, and this does not include those who have it and don’t know it. So being a “member of the society”, it is my moral obligation to join hands with the effort being undertaken this month to spread awareness about high blood pressure so that those who do not know about it are forewarned of the damage high blood pressure can cause if not treated in time.

So please read the post carefully to the end and take measures before this silent killer harms you beyond repair.

1.    What is high blood pressure? Well before answering this, let us get to know what blood pressure is. Blood pressure is the force with which our blood pushes against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. Due to the placement of the heart in our upper body, the blood pressure is highest near our heart and in the major arteries and lowest in small arteries and capillaries. Since blood pressure varies throughout our body, its reading is generally taken on the inside of upper arm along the brachial artery as a standard.
2.    High blood pressure itself usually has no symptoms. That is why it is often called the silent killer. Since there is often no way to tell that you have HBP, you should visit your doctor's office to get regular checkups.
3.    Blood pressure is measurement of the pressure in the blood vessels during a heartbeat and when the heart is at rest. And it is always measured giving two readings, like 120/80. 140/100 or even 200/160 (God forbids). The upper number, systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart pumps blood throughout the body; the lower number, diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxing. A person with normal blood pressure should get a reading of 120/80 or lower. But anything higher than these readings should ring an alarm and the need for thorough checkup by a qualified specialist immediately. You also need to be alarmed if you are feeling unusually tired, have persistent headaches, blurred vision or even an upset stomach.
4.    People with high blood pressure over the age of 50, need to control the  systolic blood pressure more than controlling diastolic blood pressure. Because systolic blood pressure is directly linked to the risk of heart disease, one of the leading causes of death for adults worldwide.
5.    On the contrary, blood pressure that is below normal readings is called hypotension. It is possible for blood pressure to be too low. This condition is called hypotension and can result in a decrease in the amount of blood being pumped to the brain resulting in lightheadedness, dizziness, weakness and fainting. Extremely low blood pressure can be a sign of a severe cardiac disease and should be taken just as seriously as high blood pressure.
6.    Of all the spices and condiments, sodium or salt is something that attributes to the occurrence of high blood pressure. Therefore by simply lowering the sodium intake, one can have one’s high blood pressure effectively controlled.
7.    Other than controlling sodium intake, losing weight, exercising, eating a healthy diet, cutting on caffeine and alcohol and quitting smoking can all help lower high blood pressure.
8.    Those with high blood pressure must maintain a normal body weight (body mass index of 18.5-24.9 which is kilograms divided by height in meters squared).
9.    Additionally, they must Keep up physical activity (2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest,  shoulders, and arms).

Help spread the message – it will be a great service to humanity.


Related reading: May is High Blood Pressure Education Month