Member Doug Pile presented a program on hypertension awareness and the significance of unrecognized and undertreated hypertension on our lives.
Member Doug Pile presented a program on hypertension awareness and the significance of unrecognized and undertreated hypertension on our lives.
Hypertension is extremely common, affecting over 70 million Americans. It is the leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure and kidney failure. The incidence of hypertension increases with age such that 75-80% of people over the age of 70 have hypertension or are being treated for hypertension.
Hypertension is a "silent" disorder that can only be diagnosed by having your blood pressure measured. To establish a solid diagnosis of hypertension requires several readings, typically over several days. The gold standard is Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (a BPM) in which a blood pressure cuff records your blood pressure every five minutes for a 24 hour period of time and records it on a portable device that can be downloaded in the physician's office. Blood pressure can also be monitored in the home with any of several machines that are available at modest cost online or in pharmacies. Multiple readings are required because blood pressure varies from moment to moment depending upon our level of stress, conception of medication and caffeine, our dietary intake, and our level of physical activity. By taking blood pressure in several different situations, and averaging the results, a reasonable approximation of our "resting blood pressure" can be obtained. Ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Pre-hypertension is 121-139/80-89, hypertension is present when the blood pressure exceeds 140/90. Beyond that, there are complications resulting from blood pressure that change its categorization.
Many factors affect one's blood pressure. Weight, physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption, cigarette use, genetics all play a role in predisposition to hypertension.
One should exercise a total of 150 minutes per week. Exercise need not be strenuous, simple walking, swimming or cycling with low intensity works just fine. Alcohol should be limited to two alcoholic beverages a day for men and one for women. Diet should include large quantities of fruits and vegetables, moderate quantities of low-fat dairy products, generous quantities of legumes, and only vocational snacks. Salt should be limited to no more than 2300 mg per day.
Many of the consequences of being overweight to contribute to hypertension and its bad outcomes. These include diabetes, high cholesterol, impaired joint function which leads to diminished exercise, along with impaired respiratory reserve.
Nearly all of the factors that cause hypertension can to some degree or another be controlled by our choices. For those people whose blood pressure remains elevated, safe, effective, and well-tolerated medications are available.
Every adult should have his blood pressure checked once or twice a year, even if it has been normal. There are numerous opportunities for doing this, short of a physician's visit. Most pharmacies have a blood pressure machine that is well calibrated and gives reliable readings. For $25-$60, an automated blood pressure machine can be purchased online or at local pharmacies and will keep (in most cases) a log of your readings by date and time. You can also have your blood pressure checked when you donate blood (if it is too high or too low, you will be rejected! Nobody likes rejection.
One of the quotations from a cartoon that was not presented during the talk was as follows (Dr. talking to patient) You can continue to enjoy your ice cream, potato chips, beer, cigarettes and sedentary lifestyle or you can suffer from good health.
This is truly one of the aspects of our health over which we have a tremendous amount of control.