By: Kennedy Shelley
In January of this year the American Heart Association changed an important number, and that resulted in half of Americans getting heart disease.
The guidelines recommended by the Heart Association said that we need to start treating high blood pressure much earlier than we used to.
Why? Because when your blood pressure gets over 130/80 your risk of heart attack doubles.
Over 800,000 people died of heart disease in 2016 and the number is growing. The number one risk factor is elevated blood pressure.
The quicker you get it down to 120/80 the better.
It doesn’t mean you automatically need medicine; you might be able to get it down with lifestyle, but don’t freak out if you need medication. Most are very inexpensive and have been used for years.
Stroke used to be the number 3 killer in the US, but it has dropped to number 5 because we are getting better at lowering blood pressure.
Stroke still remains the leading cause of long-term disability.
The guidelines also suggest ways to get better blood pressure readings. Instead of rushing you into a room and taking your blood pressure right away, they suggest having you sit for 5 minutes and average your readings in two office visits.
This makes sense. Why should you get a new medicine when really the only thing wrong was the bad traffic on the way to the doctors?
Your doctor is probably not going to be aware of the new guidelines for blood pressure and how to take it for a while as the word trickles out, so you may want to take it with you for your next visit. (Click here for your copy.)
Why do you have high blood pressure? Who knows and who cares?
Some people have parents that have it, sometimes it’s diet, it can be related to weight and smoking. It usually is not related to salt, but it could be for a very small group that is salt sensitive.
The point is that you and your doctor recognize it and treat it seriously. And it’s easy to ignore. You don’t feel bad because your blood pressure is high. But it slowly kills you.
Some of the complications that can follow years of high blood pressure can be:
- Damage to your eyes. It thickens and weakens the blood vessels in your eyes.
- Aneurysms – blood vessels and arteries burst causing a quick but painful death.
- Trouble with your memory and thinking.
- Heart attacks and strokes.
- Damage to your kidneys. This is your body’s main filtering system for your blood and high pressure damages them.
And fixing this problem is cheap and relatively easy in most cases.
But it’s also easy to ignore the problem for a long time too.
You may be a good athlete with normal weight, don’t smoke or drink yet still have high blood pressure. It happens. As I tell my kids, “it’s not your fault, you just picked bad parents.”
Basically most of the problems with having a bad old age are going to come down to two major problems…high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome (click here for more on this).
While some may be quick to dismiss the new guidelines as just an attempt by doctors to get new patients, many people think the American Heart Association waited too long to change the guidelines.
The research has been there for years that the old guidelines were resulting in twice as much heart attack risk for people who could have been saved with earlier intervention.
These guidelines are worth getting to know. It’s never been cheaper to take care of this silent killer.