High Blood Pressure

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the diseases of mass destruction.

World Health Organization says that hypertension causes 7-million premature deaths worldwide each year.

It is estimated that 25 percent of the 42 million people with high blood pressure in the United States are unaware that they have hypertension.

Hypertension affects 22 percent of Canadians.

If untreated, hypertension is deadly.

Hypertension can damage your heart, brain, kidneys, and retina. You may have high blood pressure but may have no symptoms. It is a silent killer.

For close to 100 years, it is known that hypertension causes premature death. That is why it is important to have blood pressure checked on a regular basis.

Why is hypertension on the rise (pardon the pun!)? Partly because we are eating more and moving less. And we are living longer. Our blood vessels become harder and less compliant with age. When the blood is pumped out of the heart into less compliant blood vessels, the blood pressure goes up. So the heart has to work harder – and eventually it becomes tired, weak and fails.

Normally, systolic blood pressure should be less than 140 mm Hg (mercury) and diastolic pressure of less than 90 mm Hg. It is written as – systolic over diastolic (for example 120/80 mm Hg).

Blood pressure is lowest in the early morning, rises as the day progresses, and then dips down during the night and earliest hours of the morning.

Blood pressure also varies from minute to minute, depending on levels of stress and physical activity.

“White-coat hypertension” means a person’s blood pressure is up in the doctor’s office but not elsewhere.

Hypertension can be prevented and treated with lifestyle changes – with or without medication.

Eat a healthy diet, lose weight if you are overweight, do not smoke, limit alcohol intake, eat a low salt diet, minimize sugar intake, do regular exercise, relax and learn to manage stress with laughter and meditation.

Here is a medical joke to reduce your blood pressure. It was published in Stitches, a humor magazine for doctors.

A motorcycle mechanic was removing the cylinder head from a Harley Davidson’s engine when a well-known heart surgeon came into the shop. The doctor was waiting for the service manager to have a look at his bike.

“Hey Doc, can I ask you a question?” the mechanic called out. The surgeon was bit surprised but walked over to the mechanic.

The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands and said, “So, Doc, my job is just like yours. Look at this motor, I open it up and take out the valves, fix them or put in new parts, and when I’m done it will run like a new one. So how come I work for almost nothing and you get the really big bucks when you and I are doing basically the same work?”

The surgeon thought for a moment, then smiled, leaned over and said, “Try doing it while the engine is running.”

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