Blood Pressure: How High Is Too High?

Is your blood pressure too high?

Should you be concerned about your blood pressure numbers?

Where does your blood pressure reading stand on the scale between “got it made” and “heading for trouble”?

Here’s what the JNC 7 says:

“Individuals with a systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89 mmHg should be considered as prehypertensive and require health-promoting lifestyle modifications to prevent CVD (cardiovascular disease).”

Here’s a handy chart from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:

blood pressure chart - too high?

That means a reading of 120/80 is the point where your blood pressure is starting to get too high, while a reading of 139/89 is the upper end of the “consider making some lifestyle changes” range.

Don’t play games with blood pressure. It’s not called the “silent killer” for nothing.

And people who are over 50 need to be especially concerned.

But, how do you keep you keep your blood pressure down to a safer level?

We’ll talk about that next.

Blood Pressure: Which Number Is Most Important?

Which number is most important in a blood pressure reading — the top (systolic) number or the bottom (diastolic) number?

For years, we’ve been told the bottom number is the most critical. After all, it represents the pressure being exerted between beats — while your heart is at rest.

One of the first things we can learn from the JNC 7 Report, though, is that — for people over 50 — an elevated top number presents the biggest risk.

Here’s that excerpt:

“In persons older than 50 years, systolic blood pressure greater than 140 mmHg is a much more important cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor than diastolic blood pressure.”

Blood Pressure - which number means most?

I’ve heard people say, “My upper number is high, but my lower number is under 80, so I’m doing fine. That’s a dangerous attitude. The higher above the safe level your blood pressure goes, the greater is your risk for stroke or cardiovascular disease.

The good news is that the opposite applies too: when your blood pressure drops down into the safe zone, your risk of stroke (and heart attack) also decreases.

I’ve found a way to get and keep my blood pressure down. My aim here is to help you do the same.

— Don

Read: Blood Pressure: How High Is Too High?

 

Is It Possible to Lower Blood Pressure Without Pills?

Maybe you’ve been there too…

The doctor’s office. Long wait. She rushes in. Small talk and smiles. Asks if you need refills for medications.

“No, Doc, really I’m hoping to get off the medications. I just don’t like pills.”

blood pressure monitor

Photo by Myriam – CC0

She laughs.

“There’s really nothing you can do about that. It’s all in the genetics. You’re going to need to take blood pressure medication and a statin drug for lowering cholesterol every day from here on out. If not, you instantly decrease your life expectancy by years. Sorry, but what you want is impossible.”

I bought that line for a long, long time. It seemed correct. No matter which diet I tried or exercise program I adopted, I couldn’t find a way to keep my blood pressure and cholesterol numbers down without taking the drugs.

I tried. Lord knows I tried.

But I couldn’t do it.

Until now.

I accidentally found a way that’s working for me. I’ve not taken (or needed) a prescription drug of any kind for over a month now.

I can’t wait to share more about my breakthrough with you … and I’m hoping it can lead to a breakthrough for you too!

— Don

One Of The Most Difficult Things To Tell Your Parents – Huh?

Okay, you’re not a kid anymore. You’ve got a life of your own, maybe even a family of your own, and things are good.

But you’re getting worried about one or both of your parents.

  • If you speak to your mother while her back is turned towards you, she often doesn’t realize you even said anything at all
  • Dad finds it difficult to distinguish between “boast” and “post”
  • Your parents turn the television up so loudly that you can hear it from the yard when you come to visit

You suspect a hearing problem, but every time you try to bring the topic up, they get hurt and defensive.

Want to know how to break through that barrier?

Keep reading.

The basics of hearing

Woman with hearing aidHearing is the ability to detect sound by vibrations. Hearing loss is an inability to respond to the sounds normally heard. It’s simple physics, not something to be ashamed of.

Helen Keller wrote about the topic like this: “Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.”

Your ear is the only true writer and the only true reader.

Here are a few pertinent facts about hearing loss:

  • Hearing loss is common as we age
  • One-fourth of Americans between ages 55 and 64 have some degree of hearing loss
  • One-half of Americans over 65 years suffer from hearing loss

Hearing loss is not only a sad reality of aging, it can also handicap one’s relationships.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Hearing loss isn’t usually reversible, but it can be treated.

New medical technology offers help – but it can only help those willing to undergo treatment.

That’s where you come in.

The symptoms of hearing loss

You suspect a hearing problem, but you convince your father to get a checkup from an audiologist. One approach could be to sit down with this article and say, “Hey, Dad, here’s an interesting quiz… how about answering these questions?”

Then read and check:

  • Do sounds often appear muted or muffled to you?
  • Do you hate crowds because you can’t sort out what someone near you is saying?
  • Does it seem like nobody speaks clearly or loudly enough these days?
  • Is it difficult to sort out consonants? Do “Pull, Bull, and Null” all sound pretty much the same?
  • Do you often find yourself thinking a sound came from one direction, but find out it actually came from another?
  • Are radio and television volumes others seem to be okay with usually too low for you to hear well?
  • Do the new phones seem really tough to hear well through?
  • When you think about it, have you been pulling back from conversations because you don’t want to keep having to ask people to speak up?
  • Is the same thing happening with social settings?

This can be a tough conversation to have, and your parent may get incredibly offended that you would bring the topic up… but you can’t pull back from trying to help someone you love.

An honest appraisal of the situation, using the statistics and questions given above, will help you take the focus away from the person and put it on the topic.

Here are some of the problems those who suffer from hearing loss often face:

  • Loss of interest in talking with others
  • Embarrassment about their condition
  • Lack of concentration
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Isolation
  • Stress
  • Lethargy

How to avoid hurting feelings

Hearing loss can’t be seen. Since symptoms are relatively mild and slowly progressive, they can sneak up on a person and gradually choke off the rest of the world.Those close to the one afflicted can often see the problems showing up long before the loved one is ready to face the facts.

Hearing Aid Styles

More tips on how to bring up the topic

Remember, you’re discussing a topic, not accusing the person. It is absolutely necessary you approach the conversation with that attitude and make sure the one you’re worried about doesn’t feel he or she is being blamed, shamed, or threatened.

  • Make sure to face the person while talking
  • Don’t shout
  • Speak at a steady pace and pronounce words clearly
  • Keep in mind that you are communicating with a person who may have hearing loss
  • Don’t get frustrated
  • Present the facts and keep to the facts

You should explain that hearing loss isn’t something to be ashamed of. Until you know you have a problem, it’s not your problem. Once you’re aware of the problem, you have a responsibility.

Sometimes the cause of hearing loss may be simple. It could be a wax build-up inside the ear. The only way to know for sure is to meet with an audiologist.

Explain the basics of hearing tests:

  • They easy to perform
  • They are non-invasive and not at all painful
  • They don’t take long to perform
  • They are not expensive

The American Speech Language Hearing Association recommends that adults be screened at least every decade through age 50 and at three-year intervals thereafter. Chances are high, the person you’re concerned about has never been in for a hearing test.

Here’s another option: set up two appointments and get your own hearing tested. That will give you a baseline for future reference, and may encourage the one you’re concerned about.

Treatments for hearing loss

The audiologist will explore the situation and suggest ways to address any problems found. Common ways to address hearing problems include the following:

  • Clean out the ear and remove any wax buildup problems
  • Prescribe hearing aid
  • Implants can help in severe cases
  • Surgery is sometimes indicated

Hearing aids can often make a huge difference. They can boost communication and social functioning in adults with age-related hearing loss.

Life can be tough enough, even for those who don’t have difficulty hearing. Many people with hearing problems don’t realize what they’re missing out on. Your concern can create a huge impact on the life of the person you love.

Everyone deserves to hear the bees hum and birds chirp. Everyone needs to be able to talk with friends and play with grandchildren.

So take a chance.

If you never try, you’ll never know how much you can impact someone who needs you to speak up and show your concern.

Do it today!

The Diagnosis and The Cure

Atherosclerosis.

That’s what the report said.

Calcified atherosclerosis.

Heading towards heart disease or stroke.

Lifestyle Affects Health

There’s no doubt that heredity is a factor. My mother’s side of the family is plagued by high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They’ve all taken the pills without question, though.

Not me.

I hate the pills. I can do it through diet and exercise.

That’s what I tell myself.

But I don’t.

I’ve been working at a desk for the past 15 or so years. My gut has become so large that it’s tough to tie my shoes. And I’ve a litany of ailments I won’t bore you with.

That Changes Today

I don’t know the answers. I don’t know whether or not to take the statin drugs. I don’t know which diet is best. I don’t know any of that.

I’m hoping you can help.

I’m hoping we can figure it out together.

60-something is too young to quit. 80 is too young too quit. 100 is too young to quit. It’s always too soon to stop trying.

I may take the pills, but I’m not going to depend on the pills.

Today, I’m going to stick with a raw, vegetarian diet. No processed foods. I may add in a smoothie or two with protein powder.

And I’m going to take at least a 10-minute walk.

That’s a start.

How About You?

Do you have your own health wake-up story to share?

Have you been on a journey to get healthy, or do you want to get on one?

Let’s do it!

Together.

3D Printing and Your Health

The concept sounds fantastic: printers that can manufacture everything from weapons to body parts. Far from being just another case of sci-fi wishful thinking, though, it appears that 3D printing is the real deal … and that it will soon dramatically change the world of medicine.

How 3D printing works

Starting with a digital blueprint, 3D printers create layer after layer of the object — and not from paper only, but from liquids, powders, metals, or even biological material. Check out this video about the technology:

Bioprinting is already underway

Some say the new 3D printing technology will revolutionize medicine and extend expected lifespan by 40 years or more. Others scoff at the idea, saying there are too many barriers to success. One thing for certain, bioprinted body parts are already a reality. CNN calls bioprinted organs the “next frontier” and Forbes says it may be the “future of medicine.”

How can 3D medicine help you?

Right now, our job is to wait. We are on the verge of a breakthrough, but it isn’t here yet. Ask your physician about bioprinting. He or she can help keep you informed. You should also stay aware of opportunities to donate to research on bioprinting and support legislation that will enhance the funding. It is that important.

Here is another video, this one from Brigham and Women’s Hospital:

These are exciting times to be alive … and 3D printing in medical applications may be a way to stay alive longer. Time will definitely tell.