Blood pressure, the silent killer, is something all of us must track regularly. Why? Your ‘normal’ high blood pressure in the 120-139 range for systolic pressure increases your risk for stroke by 71% and for heart attack by 50% compared to those people who keep their systolic pressure below 120 mmHg.
It’s taken over 30 years for the American Heart Association to revise their standards. The Study that woke up the heart health world was the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2015. This five-year study was terminated early (3.5 years) because the data collected needed to be disseminated quickly to the heart-heart community.
The results of this study showed that keeping systolic blood pressure below 120 mmHg compared to 140 mmHg reduced the death from cardiovascular causes by 43%, from heart failure by 38%, from death from any cause by 27%, from heart attack by 17% and from stroke by 11%.
The elderly suffer more from higher systolic blood pressure (120 mmHg versus 140 mmHg) because this range is considered high normal and is not treated in many cases. Over time, C-reactive protein, homocysteine and triglycerides damage accumulates and damages the inner lining of the blood vessels. This accumulation reduces the blood flow to the brain and kidneys and leads to other significant health risks.
If you don’t have a way to measure your blood pressure at home, get something, like your life depended on it. Learn how to use it. A simple automated blood pressure measuring system is easy to use and read. Blood pressure medicines have many side effects. In many cases a medicine used today doesn’t work in a few years and a new blood pressure medicine must be prescribed. In some cases, even combinations of blood pressure medicines don’t work as advertised.
I am an advocate of treating the cause of a problem. The medical industry treats symptoms in most cases. Smoking, overweight, lack of daily exercise, too much daily salt, too much daily alcohol, stress, old age and genetics play a role in hypertension. Treating the symptoms (high systolic pressure) doesn’t treat an underlying cause (such as stress) that can be effectively treated with non-prescription options.
Before undertaking any new medical program to address hypertension, please consult your physician, especially if you are already on any medicine, blood pressure or not. Non-prescription options to discuss with your physician could include flavonoid supplements such as quercetin, myricitrin and myricetin. The molecule, stevioside acts like a calcium channel blocker relaxing the artery walls. Controlled-release melatonin works around the clock.
Awareness is required before any action is taken regarding your health. If you have higher than normal blood pressure (115 mmHg/75 mmHg), take and record your blood pressure readings several times a day to determine trends. If everything is normal, then take a blood pressure reading once a week. Prevention works best. Tackle a potential problem before it becomes life-threatening. Hypertension is responsible for over a dozen diseases that can impact the quality of your life.