Understanding High Blood Pressure
It Starts with Your Heart
May has been designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as National High Blood Pressure Education Month.
Because of this, at Altus Emergency Centers we will focus our attention during this month on the education and prevention of high blood pressure in the communities we serve.
What is Blood Pressure?
Every time your heart beats it pumps blood through your arteries so it can transport oxygen and nutrients to the rest of your body.
As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure.
Your blood pressure will rise and fall throughout the day, but if it stays high for a long time, it can damage your heart. High blood pressure also known as hypertension can cause heart attack, stroke and lead to other severe health problems.
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading
When a doctor or nurse takes your blood pressure, the reading consists of two numbers, which represent your systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
Systolic Blood Pressure: This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats.
Diastolic Blood Pressure: This is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.
Source American Heart Association
Alarming Facts of High Blood Pressure in America
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
75 million American adults have high blood pressure that is 1 in 3 Americans
1 in 3 adults has a condition known as prehypertension (higher than normal blood pressure but not yet in the high blood pressure range)
Only about 54% of hypertensive patients have their condition under control
High blood pressure is the primary or contributing cause of death for approximately 410,000 American’s a year, that is close to 1100 deaths a day
Between 30 and 32% of Texans ages 20 and older have high blood pressure
4 Things You May Not Know About High Blood Pressure
Here are some surprising facts about high blood pressure you may not have heard of:
1. There is a Link Between Hypertension and Dementia
Recent studies show a link between high blood pressure and an increased risk of dementia. The studies showed that having uncontrolled hypertension during midlife (45-65 years old) increased the risk of developing dementia later in life.
2. It’s Not an Old Folks Condition
High blood pressure can affect anyone regardless of age, gender and ethnicity. Statistics show that 1 in 4 men and nearly 1 in 5 women age 35-44 have high blood pressure.
3. Hypertension Usually Has No Symptoms
The condition is popularly known as the “silent killer” because it doesn’t always show symptoms like headaches or sweating.
The only sure way to know if you have high blood pressure or not is to have it checked regularly.
4. Many People with High Blood Pressure Don’t Know They Have It
The CDC estimates that as many as 11 million American’s suffer from high blood pressure and don’t know it, and as a result, are not being treated.
Tips to Prevent High Blood Pressure
At Altus Emergency Centers we believe preventing illnesses and accidents is the best policy. To reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure you should:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise Regularly
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Reduce sodium (salt) in your diet
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Quit smoking
- Cut back on caffeine
- Reduce your stress
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly
- Speak to your doctor if you notice your blood pressure is higher than normal
What to Do During a Hypertensive Crisis
A hypertensive crisis or high blood pressure crisis happens when your blood pressure rises quickly and severely with readings of 180/120 or over.
If your blood pressure reaches 180/120 or over and you experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness or weakness, changes in vision, or difficulties speaking, you are experiencing a hypertensive emergency and need to get to the nearest Altus ER Center for immediate medical attention.
At Altus Emergency Centers we have the best emergency doctors and registered nurses 24/7, they are trained to work under pressure and save lives. While we advocate for prevention, we are ready to treat hypertensive crisis and other high blood pressure-related medical emergencies.