Oh My Beating Heart – Know Your Numbers!
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 your numbers 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%.
August 2021 – World Health Organization – While researching this topic again in 2021, I discovered some recent statistics on this subject. Key facts:
• Hypertension ̶ or elevated blood pressure ̶ is a serious medical condition that significantly increases the risks of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases.
• An estimated 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 years worldwide have hypertension, most (two-thirds) living in low- and middle-income countries
• An estimated 46% of adults with hypertension are unaware that they have the condition.
• Less than half of adults (42%) with hypertension are diagnosed and treated.
• Approximately 1 in 5 adults (21%) with hypertension have it under control.
• Hypertension is a major cause of premature death worldwide.
• One of the global targets for noncommunicable diseases is to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 33% between 2010 and 2030.
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. 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 to me, 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!
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Bechtel Dentistry is committed to the health, comfort, and safety of our patients. As leaders in our field, we are always investing in new technology, industry advancements, and ongoing education to ensure that our patients receive the very best care possible. When was the last time you visited your dentist? I encourage you to contact my office to book an appointment for a comprehensive oral health exam.
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Contact our office today at 517-882-7132 to schedule an appointment with me and start your journey to better wellness. We strive to provide the highest level of care with our incredible holistic approach for the comprehensive treatment you need. We’re looking forward to working with you!