By Jean Bowick
As April showers bring May flowers, bad health habits (and sometimes genetics) may bring you high blood pressure.And by “you” – we mean 100 million of you, according to the American Heart Association.
To help fight hypertension and heart disease, the YMCA of Greater Birmingham joins the AHA in May for National High Blood Pressure Education Month. Even with all the quality research prevailing in the media today, heart disease is still the number-one cause of death in this country. In fact, one in three Americans presently suffers from high blood pressure – and all too often, doesn’t even know it.
Take this to heart Good health habits are commonly accepted… but also commonly ignored. True to Shakespeare (and the history of human nature), head knowledge doesn’t always aspire to heartknowledge. But it needs to.
Over time, elevated blood pressure – higher than 120/80 as recommended by the American Heart Association – can damage blood vessels to the brain, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clot, and heart failure. All of these afflictions can be deadly, and for more than 2,000 people in the U.S. each day, they will be.
Vital signs In the fight against heart disease, maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is vital. Blood pressures in normal range promote optimal blood and oxygen flow throughout your body, including your brain, major organs, and extremities. Amazingly, if you can maintain a consistently healthy BP to age 50, you can add five years to your life.
The importance of checking your blood pressure regularly (and seeking appropriate medical treatment if needed) cannot be overstated. Knowledge is power, and – when it comes to monitoring your blood pressure – longer life expectancy.
Good news Certainly high blood pressure, if left unchecked, can have fatal consequences. Thankfully, we also have good news! Most high blood pressure can be avoided (or controlled with medication and lifestyle adjustments), and 80 percent of strokes can be prevented as well.
What to watch Be sure to check your pressure regularly, especially if you have a family history of hypertension. If you don’t know your family’s history, find out.
Learn the symptoms of heart attack and stroke. Even if you think you’re in excellent health, don’t ignore these symptoms: pain or tightness in your chest; nausea; shortness of breath; or unusual sensations in your back, arms, or even (particularly in women) your teeth.
If you’re experiencing numbness or impaired blood flow to your extremities (including erectile dysfunction), seek medical attention. Improper circulation is a symptom of heart disease.
Join us Do you have high blood pressure? Want to improve your health and change your life? Join us at the YMCA of Greater Birmingham for our extensive, four-month Blood Pressure Management Program. You’ll meet with a Healthy Heart Ambassador while building an ongoing, heart-healthy wellness plan. To enroll or learn more about our program, contact Keesha Nelson at (205) 801-7224 or email@example.com.
#CheckIt #HeartStrong #LiveLong #YStrongBham
MISSION: To put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
VISION: We will lead our community to become the healthiest in America.
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