National High Blood Pressure Education Month
Control Your Blood Pressure and Live Longer
May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month! During this month doctors and nurses across the country strive to raise awareness about the importance of keeping your blood pressure under control.
At Altus Emergency Centers, we’re joining the high blood pressure awareness crusade! We hope to spread the knowledge that uncontrolled high blood pressure is a major factor in the onset of many serious health problems. Fortunately, there is good news. You can control high blood pressure easily with lifestyle changes and medication.
What is Blood Pressure?
The term, blood pressure is usually associated with negativity but it’s very good and necessary. Our blood is pumped from our heart into our arteries. It travels to every organ in our body carrying much-needed nutrients and oxygen absolutely necessary for our survival. “Blood pressure” is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries and other veins.
Blood pressure is made up of two forces:
- Systolic Pressure – This is the pressure of the blood as it is pumped out of the heart and into the arteries.
- Diastolic Pressure – This is the pressure of the blood flowing through the circulatory system during heartbeats.
When you look at your blood pressure reading, the first number indicates the systolic pressure which the second number represents the diastolic pressure, i.e. 120/80.
It is normal for your blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day, but if it stays high for a long time it can cause damage to your heart and cause other health problems. The condition where blood pressure stays high for extended periods is known as hypertension.
How Does High Blood Pressure Harm the Body?
High blood pressure makes the heart and blood vessels work harder than they should, this, in turn, makes them less efficient.
Over time, high blood pressure will cause damage to the delicate tissues inside the arteries. This creates tiny tears in the artery walls where LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) will start to accumulate forming plaque inside the arteries. This is a condition known as atherosclerosis. If left untreated, the plaque buildup will create a vicious cycle of high blood pressure as the inside of the arteries become increasingly narrow.
This cycle can ultimately lead to other conditions such as:
- – Arrhythmia
- – Heart Attack
- – Stroke
- – Vision Loss
- – Heart Failure
- – Kidney Disease
- – Sexual Dysfunction
Additionally, recent studies have shown that uncontrolled high blood pressure in patients between the ages of 45 and 65 is linked to a higher risk for dementia later in life.
How Can You Know If You Have High Blood Pressure?
Hypertension or high blood pressure usually has no symptoms unless it reaches extremely high levels. In that case, you may experience a severe headache, chest pain, shortness of breath, vision changes or a nosebleed.
Because there are no symptoms, the only way to know if your blood pressure is above normal is to get a blood pressure reading. Now, don’t get scared if you get a single high reading. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have hypertension. If your reading is high or moderately higher than normal then you should have a few more readings, try to have them at the same time of day. Then, if the readings continue to be high then make an appointment with your doctor for evaluation and to determine the best course of treatment. Remember that if you are concerned about a possible spike in your blood pressure any time of the day or night, all Altus Emergency Centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You will not have to make an appointment or wait in line.
There are 5 blood pressure categories:
|Blood Pressure Category||Systolic Pressure||Diastolic Pressure|
|Normal||Less than 120||Less than 80|
|Elevated||120-129||Less than 80|
|Hypertension Stage 1||130 – 139||80-89|
|Hypertension Stage 2||140 or Higher||90 or Higher|
|Hypertensive Crisis||Higher than 180||Higher than 120|
Hypertension develops slowly over time, and there is no cure for it, however, it can be managed through lifestyle changes and medications if needed.
How to Prevent and Manage High Blood Pressure
It has been proven that you can help control your blood pressure by:
- – Reducing your salt intake,
- – Adding plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy products, and fatty fish such as salmon to your diet,
- – Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.
Studies have shown that blood pressure can drop by as much as 5 points with a weight loss of just 5 or 10%.
When to Visit the ER
If your blood pressure gets to be 180/120 or higher you are experiencing a hypertensive crisis and should rush to the nearest Altus Emergency Center for treatment.
A hypertensive crisis puts you at a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Altus Emergency Centers are equipped with the necessary medications, equipment, and qualified staff to help all types of medical emergencies. There is no time to lose waiting in line during such time-sensitive moments. We are open 24/7 with no lines.