There are many important numbers you should keep in mind when it comes to your health and wellness, with blood pressure being a crucial one to monitor. Your health can be in danger with either a blood pressure reading that is too low or too high, but a new study recently published byJAMA, in cooperation with Duke Health, indicates that patients over 40 with high blood pressure are at a higher risk for heart failure, strokes, and vessel blockages.
What Does Blood Pressure Measure?
Blood pressure is measured using two different numbers—systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats, while diastolic indicates the pressure in your blood vessels between those beats. The numbers are expressed as the systolic pressure number over the diastolic number. A low blood pressure reading is typically considered anything lower than 90 over 60, with normal pressure being less than 120 over 80. Those with a blood pressure between 120-139 over 80-89 are considered at risk for high blood pressure, or in prehypertension. Finally, anyone with a reading of more than 140 over 90 is considered to have high blood pressure.
What Are The Risks That Come Along With High Blood Pressure?
Since blood pressure measures the amount of blood flowing through the heart and the rate at which the heart pumps it through your body, it makes sense that an improper flow can cause health problems throughout the body, although some of the most detrimental occur in the heart itself. The most harmful issues that accompany it are heart failure and heart attack due to low blood and oxygen levels being delivered to your heart and other organs. The less obvious organs affected by it include the brain, with the risk of stroke due to a lack of oxygen being delivered to the brain, as well as chronic kidney disease.
High blood pressure is certainly not a rare health issue, with one in three Americans being affected by it, and an estimated 1,000 deaths per day being contributed to the condition. The majority of people who suffer heart attacks, strokes, and chronic heart failure fall into that category.
When Do My Risks Increase?
The recent study conducted by Duke Health involved more than 4,800 participants. Their blood pressure was recorded prior to turning 40 and tracked for about 19 years. The findings indicated that those with stage 1 or stage 2 hypertension before age 40 were at a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease after turning 40 when compared to participants who fell into the normal category prior to 40.
How Can I Control My Blood Pressure?
Like any other chronic health issue, you have to be diligent and focused on making healthy lifestyle changes in order to see those numbers drop to the proper range. To begin with, you should check your pressure frequently, either at a doctor’s office or pharmacy. If you’re overweight, consider making some changes to your diet by introducing more whole grains, fruits, and veggies, while lowering your intake of sodium, saturated and trans fat, and cholesterol. In addition to diet changes, you should consider limiting alcohol intake and quit smoking. Weight loss and a healthy lifestyle can’t stop at food, though, and you should also be exercising regularly.New recommendations by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services suggest that adults should be exercising for at least 2.5 hours per week, including both cardiovascular and strength-building activities.
If you need an understanding of your current health condition and how your blood pressure is related to it, or if you’re looking to make changes and need advice on the best methods, make an appointment with The Woman’s Clinic today so we can help you understand how to make positive changes in your health.