KNOWING AND CONTROLLING YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

Many people have high blood pressure without knowing it. Once you know about your condition, though, you can reduce your risk and live a healthier life. It takes proper treatment and some changes in your lifestyle but it is totally worth it!

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels in the body. When blood pressure is measured it is recorded as two numbers, for example, 124/80.

The top number is called systolic pressure. This is the pressure of blood pushing against blood vessels when the heart beats. This number should be around 120.

The bottom number is called diastolic pressure. This is the pressure of blood pushing against blood vessels when the heart is relaxed between beats. This number should be around 80.

The instrument used to measure blood pressure is called a sphygmomanometer

What do the numbers mean?

 

 

You have high blood pressure (hypertension) if your top number is constantly bove 140 or your bottom number is always above 90.

What causes Hypertension?

Usually there is no definite cause. However in a small percent of people, kidney disease or abnormal production of hormones from the adrenal glands above the kidney may cause high blood pressure. Occasionally some medicines used to treat ulcers, arthritis or depression may cause a rise in blood pressure. High blood pressure is more common as we get older and it tends to run in families. It is also common in people who are overweight, who drink too much alcohol and in people who take a lot of salt in their diet.

Should you be bothered about your blood pressure?

High blood pressure adds to the workload of the heart and can damage the lining of blood vessels. Then the blood supply to your heart, brain, kidneys, eyes etc. will be put at risk. The risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and eye damage will be higher in somebody with high blood pressure compared to somebody with normal blood pressure.

Risks of high blood pressure

• Heart disease
• Heart failure
• Stroke
• Kidney disease or failure
• Eye problems

How Can I Reduce High Blood Pressure?

By treating high blood pressure, you can help reduce your risk for a stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure. Here are steps you can take now:

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes (beans and peas), nontropical vegetable oils and nuts; and limits intake of sodium, sweets, sugar sweetened beverages and red meats. Choose foods rich in potassium.
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be more physically active.
  • Don’t smoke and also avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Know what your blood pressure should be and work to keep it at that level.

Remember by controlling high blood pressure
the risk of heart disease and stroke is greatly reduced.

WHAT DISEASES TO GET SCREENED FOR – WHEN AND WHY

Do you know a visit to your doctor when you are not Ill is one of the ways of staying healthy

The essence of regular medical checkup is to evaluate the current health status, screen for diseases or risk factors and provide preventive counseling depending on the age of the individual.  This helps to prevent onset of disease or worsening of an existing one. When diseases are in their early stages and detected early, if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance it can be cured.

In preventive healthcare, measures are taken for disease prevention, as opposed to disease treatment.

Here are a few screenings for women at different ages:
Blood pressure: Have your blood pressured at least every once every two years if it is in the healthy range (under 120/80) or once a year if it is above normal (between 120/80 and 139/89).

  • Cervical cancer: A Pap smear is recommended every three years for women 21-65 who have a cervix. At age 30 a pap test and HPV test every 5 years is an option. If you are 65 or older, ask your doctor or nurse if you need to keep having Pap tests.
  • Diabetes screening: Diabetes may run in families or be linked to certain lifestyle factors. You should be tested if you have any of these risk factors:

1.Obesity

  1. Previous abnormal glucose screening results
    3. High blood pressure
    4. High cholesterol
    5. History of gestational diabetes or a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth
  • Bone density: Get this test at least once at age 65 or after. Talk to your doctor or nurse about getting tested if you’re younger than 65 and about repeat testing.
  • Breast cancer: Mammography every two years for women ages 50-74. If you are 75 or older, ask your doctor or nurse if you need to continue having mammograms.
  • Colorectal cancer:This screening is recommended for women ages 50-75. Talk to your doctor about which screening test, (fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy) or combination of tests, is best for you and how often you need it and if you should continue having these tests after 75.
  • HIV/AIDS: Get tested for HIV/AIDS at least once after age 20, or earlier if you are at high risk for being infected by the human immunodeficiency virus. Discuss further testing with your doctor.
  • Lipid profile: Starting at age 20, women at increased risk for developing heart disease should have regular cholesterol tests.

*Sexually Transmitted Infections: Get tested for chlamydia yearly through age 24 if you are sexually active or pregnant. After age 25, get tested for chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases if you are at increased risk for getting a sexually transmitted infection.

You need to stay ahead of diseases by warding them off before they even start.