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CHALLENGE POST - Know Your Numbers - Blood Pressure
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CHALLENGE POST - Know Your Numbers - Blood Pressure

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Your doctor knows that the key to your current heart health is all in the numbers: from cholesterol and triglycerides, to your blood pressure, waist size and more. The more you know about your numbers, the easier it is to count on good health!

The particular number that we would like to focus on today is blood pressure.  High blood pressure is the No. 1 modifiable risk factor for stroke.  High blood pressure (or hypertension) makes the heart work harder than normal.  This makes both the heart and arteries more prone to injury.  High blood pressure raises the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, eye damage, heart failure and atherosclerosis (fatty buildups in the arteries), and blood clots.  As a woman, you have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure if you are 20 pounds or more over a healthy weight (for your height and build), have a family history of high blood pressure, or have reached the age of menopause.  If you are taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills), talk to your healthcare provider to evaluate the risks and benefits.

According to the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women’s website, the goal for blood pressure is a reading at or less than 120/80 mmHg. Monitoring your blood pressure does not have to be a difficult task requiring a doctor’s visit for each reading (although the doctor’s office is a wonderful place to start).  Many grocery stores and drug stores have machines that evaluate your blood pressure free of charge.  A quick stop into one of these facilities for a blood pressure reading is a simple and effective means to monitor this important number.  

Once you have obtained your reading, you can set up a blood pressure tracker at http://www.medhelp.org/user_trackers/list/703362?personal_page_id=343483 to help you keep track of your results and see how they vary over time.  Using the MedHelp blood pressure tracker would be a fantastic way to record your blood pressure readings and share them with your doctor at your next visit to give him/her a better idea of the overall picture of your blood pressure situation.  

Coming soon....ideas to manage and reduce blood pressure.


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8 Comments Post a Comment
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704458_tn?1236844843
For years my average blood pressure has been 106/62 It was even low through both my pregnancies -  then for some reason this year since having a couple of bad flu bugs, a sickness bug and a head cold/ear infection it has not gone back sooo low -  though I do take it daily just to keep an eye on it... I love Med Help trackers :)
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703362_tn?1244309139
That is very interesting....you know, for the vast majority of my life I found that my blood pressure was very excellent.  I would always get the 'prize' for best blood pressure of the day.  Suddenly about three years ago, that was no longer the case.  Now I tend to run borderline hypertensive and have to keep a good eye on it.  I think that a blood pressure tracker of my very own is in order as well.  I too Love Med Help trackers!  I think that they can be wonderful tools for seeing our results on various levels as we progress towards healthfulness.  
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579258_tn?1250652943
Great information, Miss Lucinda .. thank you so much for sharing!  For many years, my blood pressure was the normal and well desired 120/80.  Then, as time went on and I kept packing on the pounds, it kept increasing.  First one medicine and then another .. finally we settled on one .. but I kept gaining.  Soon, the medicine we settled on had to be doubled and still I did not get the picture .. duhhhh.

After having embarked on this courageous and enlightening journey 2 1/2 years ago and deciding I needed to make changes .. my blood pressure medicine has been cut in half and my blood pressure consistently remains in the normal range.  With approximately 150 down and 40 to go .. think I may start a blood pressure tracker one of these days .. it would give me some history as to what is going on.

Can't stress enough to be aware of your blood pressure numbers .. it is called the silent killer because many many people do not have symptoms as the numbers increase.

Looking forward to Part 2!!! Well done!
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Avatar_f_tn
I was very unhealthy and out of shape for most of my life. I avoided doctors for years because the "shame" of my weight and the fear of the results they would find kept me from going. Not smart. I was 300 lbs at one point on a 5'4 frame, and over time I started experiencing odd and occasionally severe pains and symptoms that went well beyond your average shortness of breath. Fast forward to the summer of 2007, for a couple of weeks I started experiencing the most frightening aggressive symptoms. That's actually how I came to find medhelp, because I was so panicked by all of this that even my 2 visits to the ER couldnt calm my nerves. I have a strong family history of heart disease and through the roof cholesterol on both sides. A heart attack is what claimed the life of my dad (15 years ago Feb 2) when he was only 42. I have no family history of blood pressure problems but when it was checked at the ER, they were concerned and told me it was through the roof. Although I was sent home since they couldnt find anything else wrong with me, they told me to follow up with my doctor because I was probably going to have to be put on blood pressure meds. I bought an at home monitor and found that although my bloodpressure wasnt GREAT, it was nowhere near as bad as the readings at the ER. I think on average my blood pressure was 130-low 140/70s-low 80s. It was slightly elevated when I went to see my doctor but I've come to realize I have what i think they call "white coat hypertension" My blood pressure is fine at home, but I absolutely hate being at the doctors and always feel some kind of inner panic while I'm there. Just a bundle of nerves so I guess that makes sense why it's always elevated when I'm under that kind of stress.

Well after changing my diet, exercising and losing all that weight my heart rate and blood pressure has dropped significantly. So low that I'm actually wondering if it's normal? My pulse used to be in the 70s-80s and is now on average in the 40s (sometimes low 40's) to the low-mid 50s. My blood pressure is on average 95/50 although sometimes in the mid 80s/high 40s. I just looked back on a past reading that was 84/48 with a pulse rate of 73. I know in general a lower pulse or resting heart rate and low blood pressure is better than something on the higher end, but does this sound too low?
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599170_tn?1300977493
my bp is normally 120/80  when in pain the bottom numbers jump but that is normal when in er in extreme pain it was 178/90
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649848_tn?1357751184
My blood pressure was always very low (around 100/60) when I was young; then in my mid 40's it jumped up to around 160/90 (give or take some) and I was put on blood pressure meds.  I had smoked for years.  

In late 2006, I began slowly gaining weight and my blood pressure was climbing.  In Aug 2007, I was sent to an ENT due to problems with my vocal cords and at that time I quit smoking.  Within a few months after I quit smoking I was able to reduce my blood pressure meds in 1/2.  

I check my BP periodically at the grocery store and it began running very low (one day it was 93/54) so I called my doctor's office and talked to the nurse.  She said as long as I didn't have any symptoms, it was ok to be that low, but if I ever had any inkling of a symptom (light headedness, dizziness, etc) that I needed to call an ambulance immediately.  

Then one day I was in the doctor's office and when they checked my pulse it was in the low 50's and everyone went "whacko" - next thing I knew they had wheeled in an EKG machine, etc because my heart rate was so low (was about 5:30 pm and I'd been sitting in the waiting room for nearly 2 hrs).  Anyway, they ended up putting me in a 24 hr holter monitor, which showed that my heart rate was abnormally low most of the time.  During the night when I was sleeping, it went down to the low to mid 30's a couple of times, otherwise it was in the upper 40's-low 50's; I was then referred to a cardiologist, went through stress test, echocardiogram, etc.  My heart checked out just fine, whic was great because I, too, have a lot of heart problems in my family!!  

When it was all said and done, the problem with my low heart rate was caused by my thyroid.  Low thyroid hormone slows down body processes, including heart rate and metabolism so there was my low heart rate, weight gain, inability to lose, etc.  Even after being put on thyroid med, my heart rate stayed low and I still couldn't lose weight.  I have recently got my thyroid med readjusted and my heart rate has now come up to the 60's - 70's and I'm once again able to lose weight.  

StarryNight, it would be a good idea for you to make one more visit back to your doctor with a record of what your heart rate runs.  I would strongly suggest that you ask to have your thyroid checked, if it hasn't already been; and if your thyroid is normal, a referral to a cardiologist might be in order to make sure all is well.

According to my doctor, normal heart rate is 60 - 100 bpm.  Highly trained athletes may often have lower heart rate.  
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649848_tn?1357751184
Forgot to add - if checking your blood pressure at a grocery store (like I do) or a pharmacy, etc it's best to try to go to the same store each time so you can use the same machine since the machines can vary from place to place.  

I also bought a watch with which I can check my heart rate during exercise to make sure that it's getting up to target and coming back down normally.  
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579258_tn?1250652943
Hey .. there is a part 2  to this post - http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/761488  ; Check it out!
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