The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recently set new guidelines for a person’s blood pressure.
In the past, a person was diagnosed with hypertension if their blood pressure was above 140 systolic (the high number) or above 90 diastolic (the lower number).
Studies have shown that people with systolic blood pressures of 130 to 139 or diastolic pressures of 80 to 89 are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Both of those disorders almost always cause a person to lose their quality of life for the rest of their lives. Both could also be terminal, leaving one with no quality of life.
The new guideline for a healthy blood pressure is a systolic of 130 or under and a diastolic of 80 or under. When 140/90 was the guideline, one-third of our population had high blood pressure. The new guideline of 130/80 will show half the population being hypertensive. Hypertension is a lifestyle disorder that is usually caused through one’s diet (high salt), lack of exercise, stress, and weight gain.
What damage does hypertension cause?
It damages all the arterial blood vessels in your body due to the pounding they receive. Once damaged, these arteries can only get worse with each passing decade of life as the damaged area takes in cholesterol and forms plaque which cause narrowing of the vessel. Most heart disease results from narrowed coronary arteries, which lose the ability to feed the heart muscles the blood it needs. Most strokes occur when part of the plaque breaks off in a vessel feeding the brain, and travels through the brain until it no longer fits through the narrow artery in the brain and acts like a plug, restricting the flow of blood to the brain.
One day you may be walking around without a care in the world, and the next day you wake up in a hospital unable to move your right side. You can’t talk and the left side of your face is paralyzed. That’s what I call a major loss of quality of life.
What can you do if you have hypertension?
If you’re not carrying any extra weight (you can check if you have excess fat by getting a DEXA scan in our performance lab), you need to reduce the salt in your diet. For help with nutritional guidance, contact one of our Registered Dietitians. Then visit the Resource Center to have your blood pressure re-checked. For help with managing stress, contact our Counseling Center. If, after two to three weeks, your blood pressure hasn’t improved, make an appointment with your primary care physician who will put you on medication(s) to lower your blood pressure.
If your DEXA scan reveals that you have excess body fat, PRO Medical has several programs which can help you. Visit the Resource Center to get started. If you need to lose more than 20 pounds, 20/20 LifeStyles is the perfect choice. The only program in the U.S. that follows the National Institute of Health’s guidelines for successful weight loss, the 20/20 LifeStyles program has been able to reverse or cure high blood pressure without medication 79 percent of the time. Some corporations support part or all of the cost of the program. If you need to lose 6-18 pounds, consider the 21-Day Food Challenge, which includes the support of a Registered Dietitian.
PRO Medical’s weight loss programs have over 200 professional people working in them. We are recognized as the best program in the country for weight loss and curing metabolic disorders such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Lastly, our members are like a part of our family. We know you work hard and sacrifice for your families. We want you to have the quality of life you deserve. That is our mission. Just reach out to us so we can help you.