We’re pleased to share this article by Jeffrey A. Klem M.D., F.S.C.A.I about hypertension and its impact on the health of millions of Americans lives.
Dr. Klem provides inpatient comprehensive consultative services as well as non-invasive, invasive, nuclear and interventional cardiology services. For further questions, contact Dr Jeffrey Klem at 832-873-2919 or firstname.lastname@example.org
May was national hypertension awareness month also referred to as high blood pressure awareness month. This poses an important opportunity for us to focus our attention on management of hypertension control and its impact on the health of millions of Americans lives.
The MILLION HEARTS initiative initiated by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has set a goal to present evidence based strategies to prevent cardiovascular disease and to prevent 1 million preventable cardiovascular events over the next 5 years.
Some interesting statistics to be aware of:
- Having hypertension puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke which are the leading causes of death in the United States.
- In 2019, more than half a million deaths in the United States had hypertension as a primary or contributing cause
- Nearly half of adults in the United States (47% or 116 million) have hypertension, defined as systolic > 130 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure > 80 mmHg or are taking medication for hypertension.
- Only about 1 in 4 adults (24%) with hypertension have their condition under control
- About 34 million adults who are recommended to take medication may need to be prescribed and to start taking it.
- High blood pressure was a primary or contributing factor for cause of death for 516,955 people in the United States last year.
- High blood pressure cost the US about $131 Billion dollars each year, averaged over 12 years from 2003-2014.
NEW GUIDELINES FOR BLOOD PRESSURE DEFINITION
Something else you may not be aware of is there are new guidelines for blood pressure definition and management. In the first redefinition of high blood pressure since 2003 the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology agreed on new guidelines, listing 130/80 as the new high. Using these new guidelines, almost half of Americans adults have high blood pressure. So now, instead of indicating “prehypertension” a blood pressure reading of 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic is considered high. The diagnosis of “prehypertension” is no longer acceptable.
New blood pressure categories have been established as:
- Normal = Systolic less than 120 and diastolic less than 80
- Elevated = 120-129 systolic and <80
- High blood pressure Stage 1 = 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic
- High blood pressure Stage 2 = 140 or higher systolic or 90 or higher diastolic
- Hypertensive Crisis (contact your physician immediately) = Systolic higher than 180 and/or diastolic higher than 120.
CONTROL THE RISK FACTORS
There are modifiable risk factors and non-modifiable risk factors for developing hypertension. You cannot change the genetics you were born with but the good news is that the majority of risk factors you do have some control over. You can fight back against the symptomless “silent killer” that cruelly damages blood vessels and leads to serious health threats including stroke, heart failure, vision loss, heart attacks, kidney damage/failure and more.
Here some things you can do:
- Quit smoking
- Limit salt intake
- Scale back on alcohol consumption
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Increase your daily physical activity
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Be compliant with medications and take as directed
- Consult your Doctor for additional guidance and questions
GET ACCURATE MEASUREMENTS
It is also inherently important in order to correctly manage your hypertension that you are getting accurate measurements. Here are some helpful tips on how to correctly measure your blood pressure at home.
- Don’t eat or drink anything for 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure
- Empty your bladder before your reading
- Sit in a comfortable chair with your back supported for at least 5 minutes before your reading
- Put both feet flat on the ground and keep your legs uncrossed.
- Rest your arm with the cuff on a table at chest height
- Make sure the blood pressure is the correct size and fits snugly but not too tight. The cuff should
- Be against the skin, not over clothing.
- Do not talk while your blood pressure is being measured
We hope that this information has been helpful. An important part of successfully managing hypertension is early detection and treatment. So check your blood pressure frequently and don’t hesitate to contact your physician if you have any questions. We are always here to help.
For further information on hypertension please visit the American Heart Association web site at www.heart.org.