Day: December 26, 2012

High Blood Pressure: Hypertension 101

Most of us have heard the words “high blood pressure” or “hypertension,” but few of us know what it actually means to have it.

Blood Pressure is the force of blood exerted against the artery walls as the heart contracts and relaxes. One in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, which is dangerous if not taken care of properly. High Blood Pressure can lead to Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Stroke, Kidney Failure and more. Below is a chart of normal to high blood pressure readings:

If you are one who has high blood pressure, a few ways to keep it lowered are regular exercise, decreased sodium intake, and keeping a healthy weight. Exercise is the greatest way to strengthen the human heart. When the heart starts to strengthen, it pumps more blood with less effort. The less effort it takes to pump blood to and from the heart, the greater decrease of force put on your arteries. All in all, the less overall force put upon your arteries, the lower your blood pressure is going to be.
Anyone can develop high blood pressure, but you are more at risk if you:

  • Are over 45 years old
  • Are overweight
  • Are African American
  • Have a family member with high blood pressure
  • Eat a diet high in salt
  • Drink too much alcohol
  • Smoke

High blood pressure doesn’t normally show any symptoms to the body to let you know you have it; therefore it is very important to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. The longer you have an elevated blood pressure, the more and worse damage it can do to your organs without you knowing. The best way to keep your blood pressure at a normal range is to exercise constantly and make it a routine; whether it is twice a week or six times a week.

My Story:
I went to the doctor one day for a check up and my resting blood pressure was 145/90, which is Stage one hypertension. My doctor thought it was just a weird fluke and therefore did not worry about it. I went into the same doctor two weeks later for a follow up and he checked my blood pressure again, which was 150/95. This is when he knew something was weird and not normal. He asked for me to keep track of my blood pressure for the next week (every day) and come back to him in a week to check in. My resting blood pressure readings were as high as 180/110, which is Stage two hypertension and very dangerous for a human heart and arteries if not taken care of. I went back in to see my doctor sooner than he had asked. I had developed high blood pressure at the age of 21 and several doctors had no clue why because of my health status and young age. I had plenty of tests done and finally was put onto a Beta-Blocker, which is used for individuals with hypertension. This medication is used to slow down the heart beat and relax the blood vessel walls. Two months later my resting blood pressure was back to its normal 118/78. I have always been active and continued to stay active during this. I believe that if I hadn’t been exercising on a regular basis, this could have turned out way worse than it did.