Part 1 of the 7 Essentials of Heart Health: Blood Pressure

I want to review data published by the American Heart Association years ago that is still extremely relevant today. Sometimes it's good to get back to the basics. This will begin a series discussing each of the 7 Essentials of Heart health. Why is this important? Because if you can achieve 5 of the 7 you can reduce your risk of heart disease by 88% and stroke by 80%. Interested? Here we go!

1. Blood pressure

·         What is high blood pressure? With each beat of your heart, your blood is pumped throughout your body. Pressure is needed to accomplish getting the blood from your heart to your toes and back up to your heart. Pressure too low won’t get the job done, but pressure too high damages every part of your circulatory system.

·         How many people have it? It is estimated that 80 million Americans have high blood pressure. That is one out of every 3 adults over the age of 20. About 20% of people don’t know that they have it – that’s 8 million people!

·         What is a good number? Here is a guide as published on the American Heart Association website ( **** The optimal goal for each individual person needs to be established by your physician. Some people may need a slightly higher blood pressure than others. This is determined by multiple factors beyond the scope of this blog. This is just a general guide.

o   Normal: <120/80

o   Prehypertension 120-139/80-89

o   Stage 1 hypertension: 140-159/90-99

o   Stage 2 hypertension: 160 or higher/ 100 or higher

o   Hypertensive Crisis: >180/>110

·         High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer”. Most of the time there are no obvious symptoms. Sometimes people will have a dull headache or dizziness. Certain physical traits and lifestyle choices can put you at greater risk for developing high blood pressure.

·         Get your blood pressure checked and understand your health risks. The American Heart Association has a great tool to see what your health risks are from high blood pressure. Click on this link: Calculate your blood pressure risk

·         How do I keep my blood pressure low or lower it if it is too high? Stay tuned, because the rest of the 7 Essentials of Heart Health are how you do this!