Blood Pressure

Each week I am going to post a short blog on a topic that we will be sharing at our Tuesday evening Seminars. If you are interested in attending a Tuesday evening seminar, please contact me and I will get the information to you.

Blood pressure is the force at which blood flows through the blood vessels. The pressure it exerts when it fully contracts is called the systolic blood pressure (this is the top number). The pressure it generates when it relaxes is called the diastolic blood pressure (this is the bottom number).

Do you know what your blood pressure numbers are? If not, you need to know. This is an important number is the Seven Numbers to keep you healthy!

An ideal healthy, normal blood pressure is about 115/75. Studies have shown that the high elevation of the top number and the difference between the top and bottom number are the best predictors of having a heart attack or stroke in people over age 50. On the other hand, the high elevation of the bottom number is the most important predictor for people under age 50.

If your blood pressure is greater than 140/90, you have high blood pressure and are usually treated with medication.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is called the silent killer because we usually do not have symptoms until it is too late. Some symptoms of high blood pressure are headaches or blurry vision. Many times the first signs that we have high blood pressure are when we experience kidney failure, an aneurysm, a stroke or a heart attack.

Salt (sodium) intake can affect blood pressure. As salt is taken in, sodium quickly flows into the bloodstream. To deal with it, our kidneys retain water to dilute the salt content. Our kidneys are the volume controllers of our blood. Having too much sodium in the blood is called hypernatremia. This condition leads to mental confusion, heart problems and can cause death to cells.

Our daily consumption of salt should be less than 2 grams (2,000 mg). The only way you will know how much sodium you are taking in is to read the labels on the products you are consuming. Just for one day, keep a diary of everything you eat and drink and track how much sodium you are taking in daily. Does the number surprise you? I bet that most people take in a lot more sodium than they even imagine.

A couple tips to decrease your sodium intake:
* Do not use salt at the table
* Reduce salt used in food preparation.
* Use herbs and spices for flavoring meats and vegetables instead of salt.
*Avoid salty foods such as processed meats and fish, pickles, soy sauce, salted nuts, chips and other snack foods.
*Check every “Nutritional Information” label before you buy or use a product. Note the sodium AND the portion size information.

Let’s add years to your life and life to your years by getting your blood pressure into the normal range and keeping it there!

Dr. Scott

One Response to “Blood Pressure”

  1. Patrick Booth January 16, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    I have high BP and find the best way to control sodium intake is to add it to the food AT THE VERY END OF THE COOKING PROCESS. This means that the food will be lightly coated instead of being absorbed, therefore TASTES salty.