Guest Author - Jenny Vasquez
In the United States, we are becoming increasingly unhealthy. I often wonder if Americans are trying to commit suicide by poor health. I just cannot imagine getting up everyday and feeling ill, tired and fatigued. I know several people that are on at least nine prescriptions drugs that must be taken daily. I know in some cases, nine prescriptions is nothing. High blood pressure is on the rise since obesity is often a cause. Millions of people in the United States do not even realize they have high blood pressure. Almost 23 percent of people in the United States are not aware they have high blood pressure!
In addition, over 31 percent of Americans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. In 2006, 326,000 people died from the disease or the disease was a major contributing factor. I am sure the numbers are much higher today. For 2010, high blood pressure will cost the United States approximately $76 billion dollars in healthcare services, missed days of work and medications. When I talk to people about eating healthy, the most common excuse I get is that eating healthy is just too expensive. Again, let me state, $76 Billion Dollars!
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is a measurable force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Every time your heart beats, it pumps blood into your arteries. The systolic pressure is the measurement of the blood pressure when your heart beats. This is when blood pressure is at the highest amount of pressure. When your heart is resting (after the beat), this is the diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is at the lowest amount of pressure between beats.
If your blood pressure is 120/80 or lower, you have normal blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, you have high blood pressure.
If your top number is between 120 and 139 or your bottom number is between 80 and 89, you have prehypertension.
High Blood Pressure Symptoms
High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” since it does not have specific symptoms. There are some general symptoms that may indicate high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack. Here are a few symptoms that indicate you may have a serious health issue:
~Noticeable vision problems
~Confusion or Fatigue
~Blood in the urine
It is important to note, that untreated high blood pressure can lead to serious diseases such as heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke.
Preventing or Controlling High Blood Pressure
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent and control high blood pressure. Here are a few suggestions most medical professionals recommend:
Eat a diet that consists of vegetables, fruits and reduce fat intake.
Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol and salt.
Exercise on a regular basis.
Discontinue the use of tobacco products and cigarettes.
If you are overweight or obese, you must lose the weight or your chances of suffering from high blood pressure is likely.
High blood pressure is one of the many preventable diseases that are costing the United States billions of dollars each year. If Americans would eat healthy and get more exercise, these numbers would drastically drop in a very short amount of time. In addition, as fast food and poor eating habits has spread around the world, high blood pressure is becoming a global problem. As the problem increases, healthcare in many countries will begin to experience the burden of this costly disease.