According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), Hypertension (HTN), also known as high blood pressure (HBP), affects one in three adults (67 million people) in the USA. Unfortunately, only one-half of those with high blood pressure control the problem and, as a result, are at great risk for heart disease and stroke. Emergency rooms in the United States have experienced a 25% increase in emergency room visits for HBP between 2006 and 2011.
Blood pressure numbers represent the force against the walls of your arteries. Normal blood pressure (BP) is defined as a systolic pressure (the top number) of 120 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure (the bottom number) of 80 mm Hg (120/80). The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure has classified blood pressure as follows:
Medical Conditions or Medications Contributing to HBP*
Almost everyone has had their blood pressure checked with a standard or automatic blood pressure cuff. Sometimes, when a problem is detected, a home blood pressure unit is recommended to track BP throughout the day.
For most people with HBP, there are no obvious symptoms. HBP is usually detected at a health fair or a routine visit with a physician. However, over time, HBP can cause problems with the heart and kidneys. Sometimes, a more serious condition can develop from very high blood pressure called malignant hypertension. Symptoms include; severe headache, nausea and vomiting, confusion, vision changes and nosebleeds. Notify your physician immediately if you develop these symptoms.
According to a recent long-term study, both men and women without a history of coronary artery disease or high blood pressure suffered from both diseases when they did not manage stress well. Those who allowed stress to upset them, (short fused and easily frustrated) had significant increases in cholesterol and blood pressure when compared with those who were more even-tempered and easygoing under stress.
Exercise combats HBP and maintains a healthy body weight. The key to success when it comes to improving your life with exercise is to develop a regular, consistent program. A good program must include aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, biking) for 30 minutes (or 15 minutes twice a day) 4-5 days per week and mild/moderated weight training 2- 3 times per week.
A low salt, low fat diet which includes: fish, fiber, grains, fruits and vegetables is essential. Moreover, take care to avoid the “Seven Deadly Sins for High Blood Pressure” (Zee News):
In conclusion, while HBP is a potentially serious medical condition, for most it is a controllable and preventable problem. Lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and stress reduction have been found to be most effective.
SOURCES: Centers For Disease Control (CDC); American Heart Association (AHA), University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Medline Plus, Zee News
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.
NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum” in the Scranton Times-Tribune.
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at The Commonwealth Medical College.