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Oh My Beating Heart!

Oh My Beating Heart!

Blood pressure is a measurement most of us are familiar with.  It provides a critical insight into the health of someone’s cardiovascular system.  It is a reading that should be taken at every medical visit.  It consists of two numbers, the first number being Systolic, which is the pressure of the blood as it is pumped out of the heart and begins to course through the body.  The second number measured is Diastolic, the lower number, which is the pressure of the blood right before the heart pumps it out again.  You can reliably check this number in many stores or even at home if you purchase or have the equipment to do so.  A while back I picked up the book Beat the Heart Attack Gene by Bradley Bale M.D. and Amy Doneen, ARNP.  This book was a real eye opener for me and I would encourage everyone to read it and become more of an advocate for your own health and welfare, or someone that you love.

Know Your Numbers!

For many years the number you wanted to have your reading to be was anything at or below 140/90 mm Hg.  In more recent years reviews of research studies have shown that you really want to have a number lower than 135/85 mmHg.   A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 mm Hg. Decades of research have demonstrated pressures at and above this level damages arteries and places one at a higher risk for a heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.

Here is the scary thing, about 1 in 3 American adults (67 million people) have hypertension.  This is defined as a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or greater.  Even if only one of these numbers is at or higher than this guideline you still qualify as being hypertensive.  If you have a reading between 120/80 to 139/89 you are Pre-Hypertensive.  Again, even if it is only one of the numbers.  According to the CDC about 70 million Americans are Pre-Hypertensive.  One study, of young adults, noted that nearly 1/3 of the 2000 subjects had pre-hypertension and the increased pressure of the blood had already caused significant structural damage to their blood vessels.

Alarming Research from your Lansing Dentist

Now here is some more research that should raise some alarm bells:

A 2002 Major Study reported that when Blood pressure rises from 115/75 to 135/85 the risk of dying from Cardiovascular disease doubles!  These are still only pre-hypertensive numbers!

A 2005 Study showed over a 10-year, period of time, that people with blood pressure readings in just the pre-hypertensive range had triple the risk of suffering a heart attack versus someone with a normal blood pressure.

Another 2005 Study demonstrated that over a 20-year, period of time, slight elevations in blood pressure in the subjects studied had nearly double the threat of developing end stage kidney disease compared to those without pre-hypertension.

Worldwide data in 2008 noted that pre-hypertension was the cause of the majority of cardiovascular events around the world, and another 2011 study noted prehypertension raises risk of a stroke by 55%.

A high number of our Lansing dental patients have Pre-Hypertension or Hypertension!

Now I can tell you that we routinely take a brachial blood pressure reading, on each of our patients, in our office with professional grade equipment.  I am astounded at the number of our patients at our Lansing dentistry office that have pre- hypertension or hypertension. What I find to be even more alarming is that many report that they just visited their physician and they were told that everything is alright.  Now if your car was on a road that was headed off a cliff, would it not be important to you that someone tell you so you can change the direction in which you are driving?  The fact is that many physicians do not treat blood pressures that are above 120/80 mm Hg, is alarming, given the information about the damage that can occur even in just pre-hypertension, it would seem wise to focus on prevention here.  Do you know what the #1 killer is in the US?  Yes, you guessed it – heart disease.  It has been number one on the list for years!   Shockingly, even though normal blood pressure is defined as a reading below 120/80 mg hg, current medical guidelines say that a measurement below 140/90 is acceptable.  This negates any push for proven lowering treatments such as weight loss, dietary and lifestyle changes and if necessary, medication.

Beat the Heart Attack Gene cites some reasons why the medical community has neglected efforts to prevent these problems.  I would encourage anyone to read this book to gather more information. The information in this blog should hopefully encourage all of us to become far more proactive and participatory in our own health and care.  Open your eyes!  Do not just leave everything to the so-called experts – become more informed.  Your heart and your health are counting on it!

Contact Us Today!

Our specialized Lansing Dentist, Dr. Jonathan Bechtel and our dental team are committed to providing exceptional dental care and empowering our patients with information about their dental health. If you have any questions about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, we invite you to give us a call at 517-882-7132. The outstanding experience of our Dentist Dr. Bechtel, and the skills of our staff have helped us in successfully treating oral problems in our patients who visit us from different parts of Lansing, Holt, Okemos, and Mason Michigan.

Do you have any thoughts on this article? Any comments?  Please feel free to email me directly and let me know your thoughts: jj_bechtel@yahoo.com.