The Link Between Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
Understanding the link between high blood pressure and cardiac disease is a key factor in keeping your heart healthy. Left untreated, high blood pressure can damage and scar arteries. It can also increase a person’s risk for blood clots and cause blockages in the arteries that may lead to a heart attack.
In honor of National Heart Month, Era Living is sharing some key information about what you and your senior loved ones need to know to protect your heart.
Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
First, it is important to know what your blood pressure is and what those numbers mean to your heart’s health. Blood pressure readings are presented as two different numbers such as 118/78 mm Hg. This would be read as, “118 over 78 millimeters of Mercury.” Systolic blood pressure is the top number, and diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number. They each represent different activity in the heart.
• Systolic Blood Pressure: The top number is the higher of the two. It measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle contracts.
• Diastolic Blood Pressure: The bottom number measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats when the heart muscle is considered to be at rest and refilling with blood.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, begins when systolic blood pressure reaches 140 or when diastolic reaches 90. A person is considered to be pre-hypertensive when their systolic blood pressure is between 120 and 139 and/or their diastolic reading is between 80 and 90.
Myths about High Blood Pressure
Separating the myths from the facts about high blood pressure can save your life or the life of your aging loved one. Some of the more popular misconceptions are also some of the most dangerous.
Myth: I don’t have headaches, a flushed face, anxiety or sweating so I must not have high blood pressure.
Fact: High blood pressure is often considered to be a silent killer. That is because so many people living with it don’t even know they have it. The only way to know for sure is to have your blood pressure taken and to know and monitor your numbers.
Myth: High blood pressure runs in our family so there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.
Fact: While high blood pressure does indeed run in families, you can still take steps to control it. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 1500 mg per day, exercising, not smoking and drinking, eating a healthy diet and managing stress as the best ways to manage blood pressure.
Myth: I started using sea salt because it is healthier for me than regular table salt.
Fact: This is an increasingly popular myth. Unfortunately, sea salt contains just as must sodium as table salt. 40% of sea salt is sodium.