High Blood Pressure– More than Just a Number

According to the American Heart Association, “In the United States, about 76.4 million people age 20 and older have high blood pressure.” I don’t know about you, but I am fairly certain that it does not take a genius to see how big of a number that is. What I am most concerned about, however, is that many who are diagnosed fail to realize the reality of having high blood pressure or are misinformed (even uninformed) about it. For as long as I can think back and remember, my dad has had this so-called “high blood pressure”. It wasn’t until the last couple of years that included the death of my grandfather (who suffered heart complications for many years) and a couple of trips to visit my daddy in the hospital that I started doing my own research and began encouraging him to make some changes. Hopefully this post will shed some light on the issue for those of you who do have high blood pressure or those of you who want to love on a friend or family member too.

In case you were thinking that high blood pressure is just a number, I want to tell you that you are wrong. Also called hypertension, high blood pressure happens when the pressure against in your arteries is elevated– A.K.A the heart is working way too hard to pump blood within the arteries, which is necessary to deliver essential nutrients throughout the body and assist in practically every function the systems, organs, and muscles perform. It is nicknamed “the silent killer” because the symptoms are not always visible right away or even throughout the years until critical damage to organs starts to become an obvious issue. Those symptoms can end up causing serious health problems such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, heart attacks, aneurysms, or kidney disease.

There are also many risk factors out there that we should all be mindful of when it comes to preventing or controlling hypertension, especially if you are:

  • overweight
  • a man over the age of 45
  • a woman over the age of 55
  • part of a family with history of high blood pressure

Other things that may increase blood pressure include:

  • eating too much salt
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • not getting enough potassium in your diet
  • not doing enough physical activity
  • taking certain medicines
  • having long-lasting stress
  • smoking

Want to prevent or lower hypertension? Fix those things listed above! Even if it runs in your family, you can make choices to not be another statistic! A healthy diet and regular exercise routine will go a long way when it comes to most (if not all) health concerns, especially high blood pressure.

Stay on top of your high blood pressure values and do something about them…such as coming to the community center, pumping some iron, and hopping on the treadmill :). If it is a friend or family member who may be struggling, love them enough to help them make a change.

Have a wonderful, healthy day! 🙂

Taylor Streitmatter
I am recently married to my wonderful husband, Ben, and have just graduated from Purdue University in the field of Public Health Promotion, as well as previously studying Health and Physical Education. Coaching volleyball and basketball has been one of my greatest passions since my own career ended after high school. My knowledge and personal experience in the area of health and fitness over many years has sparked my desire to help others lead overall healthy, joyful lives. By no means am I perfect in what I know, do, or say...but I can rely on God's word to help me grow in the stewardship of my body as I also learn how to encourage others in doing the same!