Attributes of high blood pressure

29 03 2010

When I was about eight years old my father lost consciousness.  My mother was at a doctor’s appointment and I was home alone with my father.  I can clearly remember being downstairs at the kitchen table eating my breakfast when I heard what sounded like a thousand bricks had fallen onto the floor above me.  I had to call the ambulance because my father was unconscious and lying on the floor.  A million thoughts and fears raced through my mind that morning, most prominent of them all was that my father was dead. Once the paramedics arrived and assured me he was alive but not well, I remember waiting with a neighbour lady, terrified until my mother came home.  The doctors determined that my father had knocked himself unconscious as a result of a dizzy spell.  And when we learned it was due to high blood pressure which his doctors said stemmed from his love for salt and alcohol, it made me angry inside to know that he would risk his life like that, senselessly.  In fact to this day, I very rarely use salt in my cooking and I don’t allow my children to add salt to their food, even in moderation.  And I can count on one hand how many drinks I have had in the past ten years.

A study published by the American Heart Association found that in chimpanzees whose sodium intake was increased over a period of three years to a total of 15 grams a day showed a notable increase in their blood pressure (Elliot et al 1563), while Gary Taubes’ research led him to state “that a “measurable” benefit in individuals with normal blood pressure (normotensives) of even a single millimeter of mercury could only be achieved with an “extreme” reduction in salt intake” (Taubes 898).  For every reputable source that claimed a large amount of sodium does a body good, there was an equally reputable source to point out the disadvantages, and so for now I will leave it at that “in 90 – 95 percent of cases, scientists don’t know what causes high blood pressure” (American Heart Association).

We do however know the drastic impacts of high blood pressure on the body.  Former Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Elliot Richardson stated called high blood pressure a “hidden time bomb ticking away to its moment of destruction” (Kiplinger’s 15) and this is largely because most people do not know that they suffer from high blood pressure until damage has already been done.  There are really no warning signs or symptoms that can alert you as an individual that you have high blood pressure and “about 20 million American adults are not worried about getting high blood pressure but are likely to develop it” (Alpine).  Most of the problems associated with high blood pressure stem from the hardening of arteries and blood vessels, this can cause vision to blur or even be lost, it can cause kidney failure due to waste accumulation, congestive heart failure that may even lead to a heart attack, and even a stroke (NIH).

Since the basic reason your blood pressure increases is due to the environmental changes, whether that be your food choices or the temperature or how relaxed your body is (Harvard Health Publications), then the best choice in maintaining a healthy balance for your blood pressure is to change the environment.  The Fifth Report of the Joint National Committee on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure advises that efforts to reduce blood pressure should include cessation of tobacco products, reducing body weight, limiting alcohol consumption, increasing physical activity, moderation sodium intake, increasing the body’s intake of minerals: potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and ultimately, reducing stressors in your lifestyle (Lenfant et al 11-14).  With my father we had to switch his choice of salt to sea salt and he reduced his alcohol consumption to only special occasions and even then it was greatly limited.  He also began taking daily hour long walks and even in bad weather he would simply go to a local store and peruse for an hour to get his walking in.  These changes for him solved his high blood pressure issue and he never had any other issues come to light as a result.

Based on my experience with my father and then my researching for this paper, I believe there is truly no excuse for anyone to put their life in such danger with such simple alternatives available to reduce their blood pressure.  Most drug stores and even larger chain stores such as Target have equipment at their facility to allow you to test your blood pressure at your leisure and at no cost.  It makes no sense to me why anyone would not take the simple steps to save their own life for free when the cost of avoiding this action could be their life.

Work Cited

Alpine, Wendy. Publication. Atlanta: NACDD, 2008. U.S. Adults Knowledgeable About High Blood Pressure, But Few Realize ItsRelationship to Heart Attack and Stroke. National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, 30 Jan. 2008. Web. 29 Mar. 2010. <www.chronicdisease.org/files/public/PressRelease_HighBloodPressure_Jan08.pdf>.

“High Blood Pressure.” American Heart Association, Inc, 8 Jan. 2010. Mon. 29 Mar. 2010. <http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=2114&gt;.

Cowing, William H. Blood Pressure: Technique Simplified. 5th ed. Rochester: Taylor Instrument Companies, 1913. Print.

Elliott, Paul, Lesley L. Walker, Mark P. Little, John R. Blair-West, Robert E. Shade, D. Rick Lee, Pierre Rouquet, Eric Leroy, Xavier Jeunemaitre, Raymond Ardaillou, Francoise Paillard, Pierre Meneton, and Derek A. Denton. “Change in Salt Intake Affects Blood Pressure of Chimpanzees: Implications for Human Populations.” Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association 116 (2007): 1563-568. American Heart Association, Inc, 4 Sept. 2007. Mon. 29 Mar. 2010. <http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/116/14/1563&gt;.

“Sudden Rise in Blood Pressure.” High Blood Pressure Connection Health Central. Ed. Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Health Publications, 2007. Web. 29 Mar. 2010. <http://www.healthcentral.com/high-blood-pressure/question-answer-27503-63.html&gt;.

Harvey, Robert W., ed. Kiplinger’s June 1973: 15-17. Print.

Lenfant, Claude, ed. The Fifth Report of the Joint National Committee on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Publication. National Institutes of Health, 1994. Print. 93-1088.

“Effect of High Blood Pressure on Your Body.” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health. Web. 29 Mar. 2010. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/hbp/effect/effect.htm&gt;.

Taubes, Gary. “The (Political) Science of Salt.” Science Magazine 14 Aug. 1998: 898-907. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Mon. 29 Mar. 2010. <http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol281/issue5379/index.dtl&gt;.

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2 responses

12 05 2010
onlineslots

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20 05 2010
protogere

I am glad you found something you could use.
Thanks for reading!

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