Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hypertension Awareness Month

Hello everyone!

This blog post is already due as I was planning to post it just in time for the World Hypertension Day celebration. In the USA, May 17 is the slated date for this annual event created by the World Hypertension League to increase awareness about high blood pressure. Well, I guess it's not to late to talk about hypertension because the Department of Health has proclaimed the whole month of May as Hypertension Awareness Month.

Now, this blog post is very timely because just yesterday my dear hubby had his medical consultation and he was already given two anti-hypertensive medicines to consume for three months. His BP reading is 160/90 mmHg.

"Know Your Numbers"

This year's theme is "Know Your Numbers". Doctors recommend that everyone age 18 or older should have regular blood pressure checks, and, if the numbers are high, they should take steps to lower them. The biggest challenge is that there are generally no symptoms associated with high blood pressure. That's why they call it the silent killer. But, having high blood pressure long term can cause many serious health problems, such as heart disease and stroke, so it's vital to keep blood pressure numbers down.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure

  • Normal: Your blood pressure is normal if it's below 120/80.
  • Pre-hypertension: You have pre-hypertension if your top number ranges from 120 to 139 or your lower number ranges from 80 to 89. Pre-hypertension tends to get worse over time.
  • Hypertension: You have hypertension if your numbers are above 140/90.. (so we are in this range already).
As a nurse, I know what are the effects of persistent and uncontrolled hypertension. It could lead to many complications like heart attack or stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, weakened and narrowed blood vessels in the kidneys, thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes, metabolic syndrome, and even trouble with memory or understanding. All of these medical conditions can be prevented if one is able to manage his or her blood pressure.

Just to be brief, once diagnosed with hypertension, you will have it for life. It's not treatable like fever or tooth ache. But it can be controlled, meaning to say, you can manage your numbers (the systolic and diastolic numbers of your blood pressure reading) to remain normal thereby preventing you from experiencing and suffer the medical complications that I have mentioned above.

Your doctor will probably prescribed you with antihypertensive drugs already to help lower down your BP reading. Now the thing is, you just don't stop taking these medicines if you feel like you are already feeling well or have known that your BP reading has now come down to normal. People often misunderstand this concept of medication adherence in hypertension management. Always consult and follow your doctor's advice.

Nutrition also play a major role in hypertension management. The American Heart Association have been recommending the DASH Diet for persons with increased blood pressures. 
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
It's most know as a low sodium diet. With that, it is recommended to eat more fruits and vegetables, grains, lean meat, non or low fat dairy, fish, poultry, avoid fats, cholesterol-laden foods, full-fat dairy, sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.

And lastly, exercise regularly, quit smoking, limit alcohol, and maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if you're overweight or obese.

So, with my dear hubby, I am now starting to help him manage his BP. I hope that he will be more cooperative and patient in this journey. Next time, I will be talking about different ways to prepare DASH diet meals.

Let me know if you have some health topics you want me to discuss here and I'll be most willing to share it with you guys.

DISCLAIMER: This post contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information above is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.  If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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