Hypertension – Some Scary Facts

Hypertension  We all either have it or know of someone close to us who has it.  There are many contributing factors – things we can control. But there are also things we can’t control.

WE CAN CONTROL our diet, salt intake, drug use, activity level, smoking stress.

WE CAN’T CONTROL our age, gender, or cultural background.

The American Heart Association states that a good blood pressure is 120/80.

If either one of those numbers is elevated 10-20 points, it increases your chance of heart disease, stroke, or vascular disease (having to do with veins).

A blood pressure reading is basically: top number – how much pressure your heart has to use to get blood out of heart and start circulating through body (the 120)

Bottom number – how much pressure is built up in your heart while it is resting (the 80)

Your heart is a MUSCLE.  But, we don’t want to over develop it, like our biceps or quads.  Because, if the heart works too hard, the muscles inside the heart get thicker – leaving less room for blood.  So if we are using great force to push blood out of the heart, it is using those muscles, and thickening up the walls of the heart.

Some scary facts 1 in 3 adults in the US has hypertension, increased in African American women

Only ½ of these are controlled -meaning they are managed successfully.  The other half of us are walking around not even knowing we have high blood pressure until a trip to the emergency room or doctor’s office confirms it.

A normal blood pressure should be 120/80.  When either on of those numbers go up 10-20 points it increases your chances of having a stroke,heart disease, vascular disease (anything to do with the veins in your body)          

40% of hypertension is caused by being overweight.  

Drinking alcohol causes 10% of hypertension – Allowed daily: 1 drink/women   2 drinks/men

(yeah I know it’s not far, but this is considered moderation)

Symptoms:  Now, you’re going to look at this list of symptoms and think to yourself, 

                      “Wow, these could be me everyday!  How do I know?” That’s the problem.

                      These symptoms can be part of a lot of other illnesses too.  That’s why we tend

                        to ignore them.

                        Headache, shortness of breath, fatigue, nose bleeds, blurred vision, chest pain

                        I don’t know about you but I have at least 2 of these symptoms every day!

So let’s concentrate on what we can change to help ourselves not becoming a slave to hypertension,  None of these changes are big, “oh my gosh I can NEVER eat a hamburger and fries” again change, but small daily changes that add up over time.

  1.  Change your weight. A decrease in 10-15 pounds can translate into your blood pressure decreasing 5-10 points.

     2.  Change your salt intake.  On average we consume 3400mg of salt a day.  We should only be                              consuming  1500mg/day. (That’s  ½ of a teaspoon!!) Really look at all the salt/sodium hidden in                        processed meats/canned goods, frozen food.  Use a salt substitute like Mrs Dash, or No Salt.

          Lots of hidden salt in bread, pizza, cold cuts, soup , and tacos.

     3.  Change your medications – talk to your doctor about the medications you take,prescribed or over the                counter, and remember all the herbal stuff too, like ginkgo, fish oil…

          Some of these medications might be elevating your blood pressure, and you don’t really need them.                  But make sure!


                   Some medications that can increase your blood pressure:



                      Decongestants (Ephedrine)

                      Motrin or any ibuprofen




      4. Activity level – move more.  Walk around Tanglewood, ride your bike, walk in the pool They do                          advertise this place as a 55+ active community.

      5. Smoking – STOP! (enough said).  And no, the vape pens aren’t a good alternative.

      6. Stress – I know we all just received our lot increase notices, but don’t let that stress constantly eat away            at you.  Get a massage, listen to music, do yoga, Read.  Whatever helps you get back to your calm                    place, do it.

      7. Monitor your blood pressure – I know there are alot of residents who are doing this, I see them at              Monday morning coffee!  Some people really do suffer from “White coat syndrome”.  Everytime they go to the doctor, their blood pressure is 20 points higher.  Getting your pressure taken weekly AND taking those numbers to your doctor to show him a few things.

  • You have high blood pressure and need to be treated
  • You don’t have high blood pressure (white coat syndrome)
  • Current medications are or aren’t working.

If your phone can take pictures, just snap one of your card on Mondays.  That way you have all that great information at your fingertips!

Hypertension (unfortunately) isn’t going away.  If you’re like me and thinking about the next generation, they will probably see more high blood pressure than us.  So… do what you can to keep your pressure under control.  After all, don’t we all want to live to be 100?

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