Lois Moncel, Director of Fitness & Wellness
May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. Have you had your blood pressure checked recently? You may not be aware that in 2017, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) released new guidelines for defining and managing hypertension. HBP, or hypertension, is when your blood pressure (the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels) is consistently too high. This can lead to severe health complications and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and sometimes death. According to Medical News Today, half of all adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, and a large majority of these folks are completely unaware of it!
You may have heard the myth that people with high blood pressure will experience symptoms like nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping, or facial flushing. The truth is that high blood pressure is largely symptomless. AHA states that if you ignore having your blood pressure checked because you think a particular symptom will alert you, then you should reconsider. Learn what your blood pressure numbers are and make healthy changes to your lifestyle. Do not attempt to diagnose yourself. Remember, clinical diagnosis should only be made by a healthcare professional.
Before the new guidelines came out in 2017, hypertension was defined as blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg. Now, with the publication of the new ACC/AHA guidelines, anyone with a blood pressure greater than 130/80 mmHg—approximately 103 million individuals—is considered to have hypertension. Also, new with this update, is the fact that the prehypertension category, previously defined as a blood pressure of 120-139/80–89 mmHg, has been deleted entirely (ACE Fitness).
So, what does this mean to you? If you are not already working on it, focus on a lifestyle change. Talk to your health professionals and let them guide you to a healthier lifestyle! Be sure to include eating a healthier diet, engage in more physical activity, quit smoking, improve your quality and quantity of sleep, and reduce your stress levels.
Have a happy and healthy May!