Why Should You Care About Hypertension?
Recently the number of people diagnosed with hypertension has been on the rise. Hypertension Canada says that about 1 in 5 Canadians live with this chronic disease. The term hypertension is a medical term used to describe when someone’s blood pressure is consistently above the normal level. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, an average blood pressure reading is around 120/80 mm Hg and blood pressure is typically considered high when the reading is above 135/85mm Hg
Many people wonder “Why should I care about my blood pressure?” well, high blood pressure can be an issue for many reasons. Hypertension is a major risk factor in both heart disease and stroke. It can affect kidney function and cause vision impairment as well. Mayo Clinic recommends that the average person between the ages of 18-40 should get their blood pressure checked roughly every 2 years. However, for people who are over the age of 40, people with risk factors for high blood pressure or anyone who has a chronic condition, they should get their blood pressure checked yearly. Although hypertension is considered a chronic disease it can, to a degree, be prevented or minimized.
Lifestyle changes are a great place to start when looking at preventing and managing hypertension. These include getting the recommended amount of physical activity, eating a healthy and balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress and avoiding smoking and alcohol. Grace Fox, semi-retired Nurse Practitioner with over 45 years’ experience, recommends that patients be aware of how to self-manage hypertension without solely relying on medication. For more serious cases of hypertension your doctor may recommend additional treatments, such as medications, to help lower your blood pressure.
Home monitoring is oneay to keep track of your blood pressure. It consists of purchasing a blood pressure monitoring device to measure blood pressure in the comfort of your own home. These devices are widely available and do not require a prescription. Home monitoring can benefit anyone worried about their blood pressure as well as assist medical professionals to determine a course of appropriate treatment.
If you want to learn more about hypertension and blood pressure join Northern Hearts on March 25th for an in person Talk with Doc presented by Grace Fox, Nurse Practitioner and newest board member of Northern hearts. Grace’s talk will go over the prevalence of hypertension as well as the importance of getting screened and managing the disease if diagnosed. The talk will run from 1:00- 2:00 pm and will be held at the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre as part of the “Health and Wellness Expo”.
Looking to learn more about hypertension? Check out the links below for more information.
For all questions related to heart health, please visit: https://northernhearts.org/ or follow Northern Hearts on Facebook and Instagram (@NorthernHeartsThunderBay), where a new posting occurs every Wednesday on all things heart health.
Submitted by Northern Hearts Program Coordinator, Lana Ryder-Methot.