February is Heart Month and we at LowerPressure.com and Resperate invite you to think HEART. We have dedicated the month of February to creating awareness of high blood pressure’s effect on heart disease, and to empower you, our community, to start making a difference in your own life and the lives of those you care about. As your partner in making a difference and achieving better living, this month we will share with you facts, statistics and general knowledge about high blood pressure and heart disease. It’s our objective to provide you with the necessary information to make informative decisions with your healthcare provider on how best to manage your blood pressure.
This post, brought to you by WebMD, discusses common misconceptions about high blood pressure. These misconceptions have caused many people to either not take action against their high blood pressure or to mismanage their high blood pressure treatment. Heart disease is the number one disease-related killer in the United States, Canada and Britain. Of all the risk factors for heart disease – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, prediabetes, obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet and stress – high blood pressure is considered to be a leading cause, affecting approximately 1 billion individuals worldwide as reported by the World Health Organization.
The 5 Misconceptions About High Blood Pressure:
1. It’s NOT a Big Deal
2. It Can NOT Be Prevented
3. Nothing to worry about if 1 Number from you BP Reading is Normal
4. It’s all about the Treatment
5. Treatments Do Not Work
First Misconception Is That High Blood Pressure Isn’t a Big Deal
(WebMD) Early on, you may not notice symptoms of high blood pressure, so you may not be too concerned. However, in the long run high blood pressure can kill you. Normally, your heart beats regularly, pumping blood through the vessels all over your body. As the blood is pushed by the heartbeat, the blood in turn pushes against the sides of your blood vessels. Blood vessels are flexible and can widen or constrict as needed to keep blood flowing well. For a variety of reasons, your blood may begin to push too hard against the blood vessels. This is high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can lead to damage of your blood vessels, heart, kidneys, and other organs in your body. Heart disease and stroke, both caused by high blood pressure, are the first and third leading causes of death in the U.S.
The scary thing about high blood pressure is that you may have it without even knowing it. That’s why doctors often call high blood pressure the “silent killer.” Health care professionals agree: High blood pressure is a big deal.
Second Misconception Is That High Blood Pressure Can’t Be Prevented
Perhaps you have other relatives with high blood pressure. Maybe you’re a member of a group of people who are at greater risk. For these or other reasons, you may be tempted to think that there’s nothing you can do about high blood pressure.
Here is some good news about high blood pressure: Even if you have many risk factors, there are steps you can take to prevent high blood pressure:
- Keep your weight at a healthy level. You can accomplish this by a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise.
- Eat a healthy diet. This includes eating only the amount of food your body needs and choosing foods high in nutrients and low in fat, sugar, and salt.
- Limit how much salt you eat. Most of the sodium you eat is in the form of salt. It may be salt that you add at the table or salt added to processed foods you consume.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Don’t smoke tobacco, and minimize your exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Get regular exercise. Try to get at least 30 minutes of activity each day. Exercise relieves stress and helps you control your weight.
- Don’t let stress build up. The chemicals your body makes in response to stress make your heart beat harder and faster and your blood vessels tighten. All this makes blood pressure higher.
Ask your doctor for suggestions about high blood pressure and how to prevent it. Your doctor may refer you to other health care professionals who can help.
Third Misconception About High Blood Pressure: It’s OK As Long As One Number Is Normal
You may notice that when your doctor measures your blood pressure, the reading includes two numbers, one written on top of the other. These numbers can be confusing. The top number is called your systolic blood pressure. This number represents the force of blood through your blood vessels during your heartbeat.
- 119 or below is normal systolic blood pressure
- 120-139 is prehypertension
- 140 and greater is high blood pressure
The bottom number is called your diastolic blood pressure. This number represents the force of blood through your blood vessels in between heartbeats, while your heart is resting.
- 79 or below is normal diastolic blood pressure
- 80-89 is prehypertension
- 90 and greater is hypertension
Many people pay more attention to the systolic rate than the diastolic, but experts say that the heart can tolerate a high top (systolic) number better than a high bottom (diastolic) number.
Blood pressure does change throughout the day, depending on your activities. Blood pressure changes over time, as well. Systolic blood pressure tends to rise as you get older. Diastolic blood pressure may decrease as you get older.
If either of your blood pressure readings is consistently above normal, then you need to take action right away. You and your doctor can develop a plan to treat high blood pressure or even prehypertension before damage to your organs occurs.
Fourth Misconception About High Blood Pressure Is About Treatment…