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12 Sep
2012
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Blood Pressure – The Hidden Disease.

There is a good chance that your blood pressure is high enough to negatively impact your health. I can say that with certainty because 1 in every 3 people has blood pressure that is too high. So if you think of two people who are close to you – then one of you probably has high blood pressure.

The reason I’ve called this the Hidden Disease is that moderately high blood pressure, like smoking, produces no noticeable symptoms. However, just like smoking, after a few years of ignoring it, you start to suffer serious health problems. The worst of these, heart attacks and strokes, can be lethal or severely disabling.

High blood pressure causes:

  • Artery damage and narrowing
  • Aneurism
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Enlarged heart
  • Heart failure
  • Transient ischaemic attack
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Severe kidney damage and failure
  • Eye and sight damage
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of sexual desire, lack of arousal and orgasm (women)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sleep problems

Yes, hypertension is serious, and since it is endemic you need to do two things. Find out if you have it and, if you have, take steps to reduce it.

The only way to discover that you have high blood pressure is to measure it. There are two ways you can do this.

  1. Get your doctor to measure it.
  2. Do it yourself.

Now you may think that your doctor’s is the best place to have your blood pressure measured, but it isn’t, the best way is to do it yourself. You see anxiety is one of the things that pushes blood pressure up and a lot of people suffer from what is known as White Coat Hypertension. This is high blood pressure caused by being in a medical environment.

Also blood pressure (Bp) varies, quite naturally, throughout the day. Your blood pressure is lower when resting and relaxed, than it is when you are active. When you measure it yourself you can, if you wish, measure it several times a day, or just once a day when you are relaxed. When you do this regularly and keep a record this gives your doctor a much more accurate picture and helps them to help you with much more relevant treatment, because many of the pharmaceutical treatments for hypertension are quite harmful in other ways.

Now, in the days when blood pressure was measured with a column of mercury and a stethoscope you had little choice but to get it measured by your doctor, but nowadays there is a huge range of accurate, electronic Bp monitors that are so simple and easy to use that anyone can take accurate blood pressure readings.

Omron make a great range of accurate blood pressure monitors. The Omron M6 Comfort  Blood Pressure Monitor has automatic inflation, lets you know if the arm cuff isn’t positioned correctly, and warns you if the reading is too high. All you have to do is sit down, slip a cuff up your arm and position it just above your elbow, rest your arm on a table, then press a button. The machine pumps up the cuff, takes the measurements and displays the results clearly.

These machines give you three numbers, systolic pressure, diastolic pressure, and pulse rate. Systolic is the higher of the two numbers.  Your blood pressure is in the healthy range if systolic is 120 or below, and diastolic is 80 or below (120/80). Now it’s unlikely that your blood pressure will be in that range because most adults have blood pressure above that but below 140 over 90 (140/90). This is what is now known as pre-hypertension. If you are in this range then you need to be taking steps to reduce your blood pressure. Above 140/90 and you definitely need to have a word with your physician.

If your Bp is in this pre-hypertensive range then there are a range of things you can do yourself, without need for medication, in order to bring your blood pressure down. But I’ll give you time to absorb this, and find out whether or not it applies to you, before I show you some things you can do to improve your health and well being. But it will require that you make some small easy changes to your routine, so prepare yourself for that and you will find that helping yourself to a longer, healthier life is much easier than you think.

Michael

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