Thursday, May 16, 2013

Today's Lesson: Blood Pressure 101

Happy Thursday Bleeps.

Well as happy as it can be...tonight is the Series Finale of The Office and I will be in mourning for a month. I love a lot of shows, but it's my FAVORITE and I shall miss it.

This past week was another webinar at work. This months' topic was Skin Cancer. I did not attend because I covered the phones while Ms. Liz (the baker of the incredible cookie cake) attended. And so I decided I really really need to write about the other ones that I went to.

This one is especially topical as many people I know have high blood pressure. Some don't even realize it. So sit back kids. It's lesson time.

Under Pressure

How often do you check your blood pressure?  Where do you check it? At the doctor? At home? At the store? At work? Did you know about "White Coat Syndrome"?  You can work yourself up with anxiety over the testing before it begins just being at the doctor's office.  That can affect your results.

What do you think of when you think of Hypertension?
     *Heart attack
     *Stress
     *Anxiety

Did you know that the heart pumps 1500-2000 gallons of blood a day?

What is Blood Pressure?  Blood pressure is determined by the force and amount of the blood pumped out of the heart.

1 in 3 people have Hypertension (I have pre-hypertension) and 1/3 of them do not know it.  There are no warning signs and it's called the "silent killer". That's why it is so important to make healthy lifestyle changes.
     -Prevent it before it starts
     -Helps to avoid complications later
  
So what is the signficance of Hypertension?
     *You are 10 x the risk for a stroke
     *You are 5 x the risk for a Heart attack
     *Increases memory loss and mental decline
     *Greater risk of diabetes and kidney disease
     *Sexual dysfunction in Men (viagra increases the blood flow)

What are the risks for Pre-Hypertension?
     *You are 3 x the risk for a Heart attack
     *You are 2 x the risk for artery disease

So let's look at the numbers now.

Normal Blood Pressure: Less than 120/80
Pre-Hypertension: Between 120-139/80-89
Stage 1 Hypertension: 140-159/90-99
Stage 2 Hypertension: Greater than 160/100

So what do the numbers mean?

The first/higher number is the Systolic Blood pressure. That is the maximum force the blood is being pumped out of the the heart.

The second/lower number is the Diastolic Blood pressure. This is the force of the blood returning to your heart. It measures the pressures in your arteries while your heart is at rest.

So here's some fun stuff for you:
     *Your Blood Pressure is usually the highest while you are at work.
     *It drops slightly when you are home.
     *It dips the lowest while you are asleep.
     *It spikes the highest first thing in the morning when you wake up. That is when you are most at
       risk for a Heart attack or Stroke.

Like most Health Issues there are risk factors that you can control and those that you cannot. Let's start with what you cannot control:
     *Family History
     *Race
          -40% of African Americans are at risk; and many Native Americans
     *Age
          -Increased risk over the age of 50
     *Gender
          -Risk is doubled in men
          -A woman's risk is increased after menopause
Now let's talk about risk factors that you can control:
     *Watching your weight
          -even the loss of 10 lbs can make a difference
     *Stop smoking
     *Limit your alcohol
     *Eat healthy food
     *Exercise
     *Manage your stress and anger
     *Get adequate sleep

Some other risk factors include:
     *Diabetes
     *kidney disease
     *sleep apnea
     *a loved one with hypertension (habits and influence)
    
So what can cause a temporary rise in Blood Pressure?
     *Intense exercise will increase the Systolic Blood Pressure
     *Stress
     *Caffeine
     *Some prescription medications
     *Some over the counter drugs: decongestants, weight loss and energy pills, birth control, steroids,         pain relievers

 Let's talk food. You want to avoid foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar.

You want to eat foods with:
     *dietary fiber (cereal, bread, fruit & veggies)
     *lean protein (fish, chicken, beans, soy)
     *monounsaturated fats (almonds, olive oil)
     *low fat dairy (skim, yogurt, light cheese)
     *fruits and veggies


You want to limit foods with:
     *Saturated fats
     *Animal fats
     *Sodium (salt)
     *transfat
     *fast foods or prepackaged foods
     *high fat dairy (whole milk)
     *alcohol (men up to 2 a day, women 1 a day)


Are you ready for some good news? Studies show that dark chocolate may reduce Blood Pressure. The key is the dark chocolate. It should be 60-70% dark. 3.5 oz daily can decrease your Systolic Blood Pressure...just watch the calories.


Don't stop at eating right though, exercise also helps. Moderate intensity for an hour a day will make a difference. You'll see a difference in 1-3 months.

Try managing stress through yoga, walking or talking to someone.

High Blood pressure is serious. It's not something to mess around with.  The good news is that there is so much to can do to control it.     

Have a Blessed Night my friends.

Fundraising for Breast Cancer:

https://dbcc.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/DEfeetBreastCancerRunWalk2013/2013DEfeetBreastCancerRunWalkSignupFundrai/tabid/434138/Default.aspx?joinme=24622

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