Healthier Hawaii: Heart Health

Healthier Hawaii: Heart Health

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the month of February, we’re focusing on heart health. One of the main risk factors of heart disease is high blood pressure. What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure that your body produces to get blood to your organs and tissues. It’s a function of your heart, pumping your blood out, but also the pipes that lead out of it, your blood vessels, where it can constrict and provide pressure to maintain the flow. When that pressure goes up too high it becomes dangerous for the body. Kind of like holding a hose and letting that pressure build up behind.

This has become prevalent in teens and those in their early years. There’s been a big epidemic in these kinds of diseases, obesity, hypertension, diabetes. We’re seeing this unfortunately come on earlier and earlier in the population. Our young ones are beginning to show up with these problems, which have never seen before.

In 2017, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology together developed new guidelines lowering what was considered high blood pressure. Before, high blood pressure was considered 140/90. These two numbers are the two numbers you get from your doctor. The top number is called the systolic blood pressure. The bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure. The guideline we used to use was 140/90. That was recently dropped down to 130/80. By dropping the numbers down, the AMA hopes to prevent about 3 million cardiovascular events in 10 years. So if people were able to adhere to this guideline, get their blood pressure down, it can prevent strokes, heart attacks, kidney disease, a whole multitude of diseases. Of course the big question, how do we bring that blood pressure down. High blood pressure, hypertension, is probably one of the easiest and one of the hardest diseases to treat. It’s hard because you don’t feel it. You have this high blood pressure, you get it on a number, but you don’t feel it, you feel it fine. But to get it down is simple steps. Lowering the sodium in your diet, exercising, losing weight.

But of course, how hard is that, you get home from work, you’re tired, you don’t want to get out and do anything. But if you just get out, do a 15 minute, that will help bring your blood pressure down. And simple changes in your diet, staying away from processed foods, healthier diet with fresh vegetables, cook your own meats, and keep the salt out, that will help bring your blood pressure down. We’re hoping this helps bring your blood pressure down.

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