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High Blood Pressure

As we age, our doctors tell us to stay active and keep a healthy lifestyle. They take our blood pressure, recite a few numbers, and possibly talk about how to change the number. But what do those numbers mean?

Blood pressure is read as a fraction (i.e. 117/76) and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The top number is the Systolic and is the higher of the two. This measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats or contracts. The bottom number is the Diastolic and measures the pressure in the arteries between beats or when the heart muscles is resting and refilling with blood1.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), it is recommended to have your blood pressured screened every two years starting at age 20.1 If you are higher than the normal range of 120/80, talk with your doctor about more frequent screenings.

Below is the AHA’s blood pressure categories1

Category Systolic (upper #) Diastolic (lower #)
Normal Less than 120 And Less than 80
Prehypertension 120-139 Or 80-89
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1 140-159 Or 90-99
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2 160 or Higher Or 100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis (Emergency Care Needed) Higher than 180 or Higher than 110

 

Why is knowing your blood pressure so important?

Your BP tells you if your tissues are receiving regular supplies of blood that is rich in the oxygen it needs to function.  High blood pressure (HBP) is also known as the “silent killer”. It has no symptoms. It not only damages your heart and arteries but other organs as well and can lead to serious heath problems2.  Checking your blood pressure on a regular basis to ensure it falls in a healthy range protects your entire body. Further, it reduces your risk of blood vessel walls becoming overstretched or injured, lowers the risk of a heart attack, stroke or other form of heart failure3.

Measuring your blood pressure at home with your own personal monitor is easy! Allegromedical.com carries many brands and styles including the Omron Automatic Digital Blood Pressure Monitor 10 Series+  and  Omron’s Automatic Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor. Other popular brands on AllegroMedical include HealthSmart, Mabis and Invacare. All include their own special features and cater to the user needs.  For example, some offer a larger view screen, more memory for recording past blood pressures, and irregular heartbeat detection.

To check your blood pressure allow at least 15 minutes of rest prior to the test and do not eat, drink or smoke during this time 4

1)      Make sure the cuff fits and the sensor of the bladder cuff is over the brachial artery

2)      Be still and sit with your back straight, feet on the floor, your arm should be relaxed and supported on a flat surface

3)      Take multiple readings

4)      Measure at the same time daily

5)      Accurately record all these readings and make sure to understand the readings

6)      Consult your healthcare professional if you record several high readings.

If you are using a wrist monitor

1)      Hold the arm out with the palm up

2)      The digital panel should be on the inside of the wrist5

3)      Be still and sit with your back straight, feet on the floor, your arm should be relaxed and supported on a flat surface. Make sure the wrist is at heart level

4)      Take multiple readings

5)      Measure at the same time daily

6)      Accurately record all these readings and make sure to understand the readings

7)      Consult your healthcare professional if you record several high readings.

Remember, knowing your blood pressure is a key step in maintaining a current healthy status or ensuring your readings trend in a normal range. Being physically active, eating a healthy diet low in cholesterol and not smoking all factor into heart health2. Make it a habit to take it weekly and if you fall into a higher risk category talk to your doctor about what lifestyle changes could be made.  Rely on AllegroMedical.com to be your partner and value-added source for information and products to help you manage your health and optimize your healthy lifestyle.

 

1 American Heart Association. “Understanding Blood Pressure Readings.” Understanding Blood Pressure Readings. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2013

2 American Heart Association “Why Blood Pressure Matters.” Why Blood Pressure Matters. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2013.

3 American Heart Association “What Is High Blood Pressure?” What Is High Blood Pressure? N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2013.

4 American Heart Association “How to Monitor and Record Your Blood Pressure.” How to Monitor and Record Your Blood Pressure. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2013

5 Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 July 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.

It’s a shame we can’t feel our blood pressure.  It’s an even bigger shame when someone suffers a stroke, develops heart disease or flat out dies simply because they were unaware of their high blood pressure.  If you rarely get your blood pressure tested, or test only at doctor visits, you may be missing the bigger picture. 

Unfortunately, high blood pressure, aka Hypertension, isn’t diagnosed in one reading.  It can take time, especially if your elevated results are repeatedly labeled ‘white coat hypertension’ (a term used when the patient is anxious or nervous in clinical settings), possibly missing or delaying the truth.

For me, it wasn’t until my doctor saw a pattern of high blood pressure - more than 140 over 80 (140/80) – over many visits that she recommended I monitor my BP at home.  Only then did we discover that my high blood pressure was consistent and required medication.

As you age, high blood pressure becomes more common.  It is most common among adults over 35 and is prevalent in African Americans, middle-aged and elderly people, obese people, heavy drinkers and women on birth control pills.

An easy way to monitor your blood pressure yourself is with a home monitoring device.  They are inexpensive and very easy to use.  Please understand that they are not intended to replace doctor’s visits. 

I highly recommend you take your blood pressure home monitoring device into your doctor’s office to compare your readings against their professional cuff.  That way, they’ll trust your home readings when you report back.

Top 5 Most Popular Home Blood Pressure Monitors

 

HealthSmart Premium Digital Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor HealthSmart Premium Digital Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor - Chart and store the readings from 2 people in your household with this easy-t0-use digital wrist BP monitor.  Features include WHO Indicator, Irregular Heartbeat Detection and more.

Shop all Mabis Diagnostic Products

Automatic Premium Digital Blood Pressure Arm Monitor Automatic Premium Digital Blood Pressure Arm Monitor - This fully-automatic blood pressure monitor has an arm cuff like the ones they use in a doctor’s office but the one-button operation makes it easy for home monitoring.  Complete with WHO Indicator and Irregular Heartbeat Monitor, plus 60-reading memory bank, date/time stamp and large LCD display.

Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor with AC Adapter Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor with AC Adapter - This arm cuff monitor has IntelliSense technology which helps ensure accurate and comfortable readings.  It is completely automatic and works at the touch of a button.  Operates on AC adaptor (included) or 4 AA batteries (not included.

Shop all Omron Marshall Diagnostic Products

Premium Talking Digital Blood Pressure Wrist Monitor Premium Talking Digital Blood Pressure Wrist Monitor – This gem has so many features it will even speak your results out loud – in your choice of Spanish or English!  It also has two memory banks, a Who Indicator, Irregular Heartbeat Detection and much more.  Super easy to use.

Shop all Wrist Blood Pressure Monitors

Advantage 6015 Digital Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Advantage 6015 Digital Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor - This portable, economical and easy-t0-use wrist BP monitor offers a high degree of accuracy demonstrated through clinical studies.  It is fully-automatic, runs on 2 AA batteries (included) and is latex-free. Comes in a compact storage case.

Shop all American Diagnostic Corporation

To see all of our Blood Pressure Diagnostic Products go to our Shop By Condition: High Blood Pressure category.

Feel more in control of your health.  Order a Blood Pressure Monitor today!

For more information on Blood Pressure, please read:

How to Check for High Blood Pressure

7 Steps to a Long and Healthy Life

Tools to Help You Measure Your Progress

I’m off my Blood Pressure Meds

You may have high blood pressure and not even know it.  After all, you can’t feel your blood pressure even when it is too high.  That’s why it is called the silent killer.  How do you know what your blood pressure is?  If you get regular check-ups you probably have an idea of your BP range but it can change quickly and without warning.  We recommend that everyone have access to an accurate home monitor to check for high blood pressure at home.  

Types of  Home Blood Pressure Monitors

Automatic Wrist Digital Blood Pressure Monitors - These wrist units are my preference.  Compact, easy-to-use home blood pressure monitors that fit around your wrist instead of your arm. Perfect for those who want a second unit for travel or for people who have trouble placing a cuff on their arm. 

Arm Cuff Blood Pressure Monitors – Automatic & Semi-Automatic - Inflate and deflate the arm cuff with the touch of a button, or manually inflate and automatically deflate – you choose the best one for you.  Digital readouts.

Manual Professional Aneroid Sphygmomanometers - If you can pronounce it, you are probably qualified to use it.   Most likely, you’ll see these manual inflation units in your doctor’s office.  Check out our great prices on Aneroid units!

Talking Blood Pressure Monitors - Let the monitor give you the readings out loud, in English or Spanish.  These talking blood pressure monitors are amazingly feature-rich.  

See all Blood Pressure Monitors

See all Diagnostic Products

See all Home Test Kits

What is Blood Pressure?  Simply put, arterial blood pressure is the force of blood exerted against the walls of your blood vessels.  High blood pressure, hypertension, is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder, plus it contributes to hardening of the arteries and the development of heart failure. 

There are two components to blood pressure – systolic and diastolic pressure.  Systolic, the higher pressure, occurs during contraction of the heart.  Diastolic, the lower pressure, occurs when the heart is at ’rest’.

Your level of blood pressure is determined in the circulatory center of the brain and adjusts to a variety of situations through feedback from the nervous system. To adjust blood pressure, the strength and frequency of the heart (Pulse), as well as the width of circulatory blood vessels is altered.  Blood vessel width is effected by fine muscles in the blood vessel walls.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?  Several factors may play a role in the development of high blood pressure.  Factors such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, salt, stress, alcohol, age, genetics, kidney disease or adrenal and thyroid disorders.  In 90 to 95 percent of cases, the cause is unknown.  This is known as non-essential hypertension.  That’s what I was diagnosed with about 5 years ago.  After 4 years on medication, however, my blood pressure suddenly dropped after my chiropractor adjusted my C-1 vertebra, aka my Atlas bone.  It dropped to below normal and I was directed to stop taking my BP medication by my family physician.  It evened out in a couple days.  This was more than a year ago and my blood pressure remains in the normal range.  I take my blood pressure with my wrist monitor once a week just to be sure I’m still okay! I recommend regular chiropractic adjustments for all kinds of health reasons, but this was a complete surprise.

How high is too high?  The normal range is less than 120/80.  Your blood pressure is too high if, at rest, your diastolic pressure is above 90mmHg and/or the systolic blood pressure is over 160mmHg.  If your blood pressure is above the normal range you should consult your doctor about lowering it.  Even if your blood pressure is normal, a regular self-check with your BP monitor is recommended.  This way, you can detect possible changes early and react quickly to alert your physician.

If you are undergoing medical treatment to control your blood pressure, keep a record of your blood pressure by taking your measurements at several times of the day.  Show these to your doctor.  And remember, never use the results of your measurements to discontinue or independently alter the drug doses prescribed by your doctor.

Monitoring your blood pressure could save your life.  And we wish you a very, very long life.  Thanks for being an Allegro customer.

Happy Heart Month!  What a blessing that just a few simple changes in your lifestyle can improve your chances of living a longer, healthier life.  The beauty is, anyone can make these changes, the steps are not expensive and even modest improvements will make a big difference.  

The American Heart Association (AMA) calls them “The Simple 7″.  Seven things you can do to reduce your chances of dying of heart disease, stroke, or other cardiac related incident.  Take it slow – start with 1 or 2.  Even small changes in lifestyle can make a big difference.

7 Steps to a Long and Healthy Life

Get Active- The AMA suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise – or a combination of both.  When you break it down, that is only about 22 minutes per day of moderate exercise.  The simplest solution is to start walking.  Join AMA’s Start Walking Program to develop your walking plan.  If you are mobility-challenged or just not the outdoorsy type, there are plenty of great ways to get your heart pumping at home. 

Browse Allegro’s Fitness category for hundreds of Exercise/Fitness Products to fit any level of fitness or ability.   Sorted into helpful sub-categories.  Get instruction from books, DVDs and videos to make your home workouts even more fun!

 

Control Cholesterol- Cholesterol is in your bloodstream and your cells.  It is soft and waxy.  Too much of the ‘bad’ cholesterol, the LDL, is a bad thing.  It clogs arteries and puts you at major risk for coronary disease.  75% of cholesterol is produced by the body and the rest comes from the foods you eat.  Many people inherit the genes that make too much cholesterol so you might not be able to control it without medication. 

The AMA says “It’s important for all people to know their cholesterol level.”  Cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood.  A cholesterol level of 200mg/dL or higher puts you in a high risk category and you need to take action. 

Monitor your cholesterol at home with the  CholesTrak – FDA approved Total Cholesterol Device.

Cholesterol can be controlled by prescribed medication, diet and/or lifestyle changes.  The AME recommends you schedule a screening, eat foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat, skip the trans fats, maintain a healthy weight and stay active.

See all Home Test Kits

 

Eat Better- If you haven’t heard it already, you must be living under a rock.  Stop with the fast food, trans-fat laden crap and get healthy.  Eat a diet of vegetables, fruits, unrefined whole-grains, fish (at least twice a week), lean meats, poultry (without skin), fat-free/low fat dairy.  Aim for less than 1500 mgs of salt per day and less than 300 mgs of cholesterol.  Stay away from foods with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.  If you do all this, you’ll be fine.

Maybe.

Even your best intentions may need a little supplemental help from time to time. See Allegro’s large selection of Vitamins and Herbal Supplements.  I take a multi-vitamin, glucosamine and an Omega-3 tablet every day.

See all Dietary Supplements

 

Manage Blood Pressure – The AMA says that high blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease.  The scary thing is, you can’t feel high blood pressure.  That’s why they call it “the silent killer”.    Blood pressure is exactly that – the pressure of your blood on your veins.  If it gets too high, over time it will stretch your veins and cause microscopic tears.  When the body heals these tears it creates scar tissue which can form clots, blockages, blood clots and weakened arteries leading to stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and heart failure. 

Normal blood pressure is less than 120 mm Hg systolic AND less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.  High blood pressure (hypertension) is a reading of more than 140 over 80 (140/80).

Another scary fact about blood pressure:  One in three adults have it, yet 21% don’t even know it.  And of those with high blood pressure, 69% are receiving treatment, yet, only 45% have it controlled.   Having your blood pressure checked only once in a while is dangerous.  It took years to diagnose my high blood pressure because it was only tested periodically. 

Take your own blood pressure.  It’s easy! - I highly recommend the wrist models.

See all Blood Pressure Monitors

See all Diagnostic Products

If you have high blood pressure, please read I’m off my Blood Pressure Meds.   By the way, I am still monitoring my blood pressure at home and it remains normal without medication.  I still see my chiropractor about 3 times a month and check in with my physician every 4 months.

 

Lose Weight – Are you overweight/obese?  If your body mass index (BMI) is 25.0 kg/m2 or higher, then you are among the 145 million overweight or obese Americans.  Calculate your BMI by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703, then dividing that number by your height in inches and then dividing again by your height in inches.

Reduce your risk for heart disease by losing weight and keeping it off.   My approach to weight loss is summed up in How to Not Gain Weight in 65 Days or Less and The Secret to Making Resolutions Work.

See Weight Loss Products  Please be careful if you use synthetic weight loss supplements!  Consult your physician.  My body prefers all-natural foods and supplements.  See FucoTHIN.   For tried and true weight-loss advice, read Eating for Life by Bill Phillips.

Obesity is a major, independent risk factor for heart disease.  And if you have a lot of belly fat you’re at even higher risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.  Get rid of it.

 

 Reduce Blood Sugar – Diabetes is controllable and treatable, but even so, adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or stroke than adults without diabetes.  

The AMA says that controlling glucose levels can slow the progression of long-term complications. Often, many small changes add up to surprising improvements in diabetes control, including less need for medication.

What is Diabetes?

 How to Tell if you have Diabetes

Diagnosed Diabetic?  See our Diabetes Care Medical Supplies

 

Stop Smoking - Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the U.S.  It increases the risk of heart disease, decreases your tolerance or physical activity, increases the tendency for blood to clot.  It decreases HDL (good) cholesterol.  It creates a higher risk for peripheral artery disease and aortic aneurysms.  Ick.

Quiting cigarettes is hard, even for adolescents.  How do you do it?  Here’s a 5-Step Process to Stop Smoking.  Don’t feel bad if you slip.  It’s very common.  Just try again… and again… until it works.  Don’t give up.  Look to your local resources through hospitals and hotlines for help.

Education Center for Heart Smarts

Are you a rehab specialist or physical/personal trainer?  Learn more about cardiac health and rehab, see The ABCDE’S of Cardiac Rehabilitation, Yoga for Cardiac Rehab, Cardiovascular Disease and Women, Heathy Hearts, Healthy Women and Major Cardiac Risk Factor Screening.

See all Healthy Learning books, CDs and DVDs

Anyone can learn more about health, nutrition and fitness with the Health & Fitness in Plain English book.

How prevalent are heart problems? Read Staggering Heart Facts

Are you at Risk for Heart Disease? 

Did you know that heart attack and stroke symptoms for men and women may differ? Read Heart Attacke & Stroke Warning Signs.

We hope you will take this to heart and make the changes in your life that will see you through a long, healthy life.   Read more about the  The Simple 7 on the American Heart Association’s website.

And as always, we thank you for your business – from the bottom of our hearts. (sorry, had to).

Blood pressure is simply the force exerted against your arteries when your heart beats (systolic pressure), and when it is at rest (diastolic pressure).  It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and a reading of more than 140 over 80 (140/80)  is defined as hyptertension or ‘high blood pressure’. 

If you don’t know what your blood pressure is, it’s important to have it checked periodically because you won’t be able to “feel” that it is high.  That’s why it is often called the ‘silent killer’.  You don’t even know you’re headed toward heart attack or stroke.  

High blood pressure is most common in adults over 35 and is prevalent in African Ameriancs, middle-aged and elderly people, obese people, heavy drinkers and women on birth control pills.

An easy way to monitor your blood pressure is with a home monitoring device.  These are not designed to replace those doctor’s visits, but to merely supplement them.  Blood pressure monitirs are inexpensive and easy to use.   I highly recommend you take yours into your doctor’s office to make sure it is properly calibrated when compared to theirs. 

Best Home Blood Pressure Monitors

 Portable Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor- This is my favorite.  It’s automatic, digital and super easy to use.  I had it checked against the one at the doctor’s office and it is accurate.   Very affordable.

See More Blood Pressure Wrist Monitors

 

 Premium Talking Digital Blood Pressure Monitor - This bi-lingual (Spanish & English) cutie sports a large LCD screen so you can hear AND see your systolic, diastolic and pulse readings simultaneously.  It even provides irregular hearbeat detection.

See All Talking Blood Pressure Monitors

 

Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor with ComFit Cuff – This one has an impressive list of features.  Clinically proven accuracy. Personalized inflation technology. 90 memory recall with date and time. Storage case.  Large LCD panel. AC adapter & batteries included.  5 year warranty.  Very nice.

See All Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors

 

 Pro’s Combo II Kit – Comes with a color coordinated, calibrated cuff and a Sprague-Rappaport type stethoscope.  Can be used on adults, children and infants.  You need to have training to use this one, though!!  It’s a professional unit.

See some more Professional Sphygmomanometers

To see everything in one spot, check out our special High Blood Pressure Products section in our Shop By Condition area.  

For more on blood pressure, read “I’m off my Blood Pressure Meds” and “Staggering Heart Facts“.  But first, buy a home BP monitor!! 

Thanks for your business.  We love it when you take care of yourself.

I wish I could say exactly how it happened but after four years on Diovan – which had been keeping my blood pressure at right around 120/80 – my BP dropped so low my doc took me completely off of it.   This morning, after not taking the medication for nearly two weeks, my BP was 117/72.  PERFECT!!  Last night before I went to bed it was 118/73.  I test it with the Omron Portable Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor, which has been checked by my doctor to be accurate when compared with the one in her office.

A couple weeks ago I had just popped the pill when it struck me that I hadn’t checked my BP in a while.  I took it and it was 91/59.  Woah!  Yikes!  I called my doc and got an appointment for a couple days later, and in the meantime I was told to monitor it and not take the medication if it was too low.  It was mostly normal-to-low the next day.  The night before my appointment it was running really, really low – like 87/54.  Freaked me out a little. 

At the doctor’s office, they took my blood pressure while I was lying down, standing up, sitting up – about 3 times and confirmed it was running normal-to-low.  I showed them the readings from my home wrist monitor which keeps results in its memory.  They were amazed at the readings and said I was officially off the Diovan but I needed to keep an eye on it and see them in a month.   I was totally excited (don’t get too excited, Valerie), but danged if I know what caused the change. 

Four years ago, my blood pressure was consistently in the 160s, 170s and over 90s and 100s.  It was kindof a fluke that we discovered this so I suggest that if you don’t have yours checked regularly, no matter how old you are, you at least get an inexpensive home unit.  I was 42 years old and in good shape.  No family history.  No signs of a problem.  As is my nature, I fought against traditional BP medication and my doc tried salt pills and beta blockers instead – but they weren’t working.  Then, I had to go into the hospital for an unrelated outpatient surgery and my BP clocked in at 207/107 so they had to admit me.  They put me in the telemetry wing to monitor my heart and after a bunch of tests they couldn’t find any reason for such high blood pressure.  So they brought it down with strong drugs, did my surgery and released me with an Rx for Diovan. 

My doctor said it’s called essential or primary hypertension when the they are unable to find a specific cause.  She said it was probably stress and reminded me of my “extreme lifestyle”.  

I pulled out the big guns and resolved to lower my stress.  To see what I did, read 15 Stress Tips that Could Save Your Life.

The only other thing that might be helping are my spinal adjustments.  In fact, my chiropractor, Dr. Mike, is taking full credit for lowering my blood pressure.  At first I just laughed, thinking he wasn’t serious, but he was dead serious.  

I started seeing him to help ease occasional spasms in my back.  No more than 8 treatments later, I’m off my blood pressure meds.  Coincidence?  Maybe, but honestly it is the only really significant change I’ve made in my life recently.  His name is Dr. Mike Henriksen, Spinal Correctionn Center, tel. 480-460-1177. 

He said that lower blood pressure due to his treatments are not uncommon. It has to do with my atlas bone (1st cervical vertabrae) coming into alignment.  In fact, he’s helped people get off all kinds of medications.  I’m sure if you called his office he, or his assistant Kathy, would be happy to explain.  He uses his patented Turbo Drop Table to make the adjustments and doesn’t “crack” your back or neck (he says crack kills).  Dr. Mike is world-renowned and trains chiropractors all over the world so maybe one of his trainees is near you.  Plus, he’s a really nice guy.

But I digress.

All I know is that I must be doing something right.  Whether it’s the yoga, the hiking, the multi-vitamins, the spinal adjustments or the happy, healthy life I’m leading, I can’t say.   Perhaps it is the alien visit I had last month . . . kidding . . .

I’ll be writing a series of stress-relief blogs over the next week, so if you want to take control of your stress - stay tuned!  Don’t know if you’re stressed?  Take the Stress Test.

Here are some disturbing statistics published by the American Heart Association.  Much of this is taken from Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2009 Update.

Did you know?

*  Nearly 2,400 Americans die of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) each day, an average of one death every 37 seconds.

*  Preliminary mortality data for 2006 show that CVD accounted for 34.2% of all 2,425,900 deaths in 2006, or 1 of every 2.9 deaths in the United States.

*  Good news:  From 1995 to 2005, death rates from CVD declined by 26.4%.

* Cardiovascular disease claims about as many lives each year as cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents and diabetes mellitus combined.

*  Half of adults 50 and younger with low 10-year risk of  CVD have high lifetime risk (News Release Jan. 13, 2009).

*  One in three female adults has some form of cardiovascular disease.

*  Since 1984, the number of CVD deaths for females has exceeded those for males.

*  In 2005, CVD was the first listed diagnosis of 3,023,000 females discharged from short-stay hospitals.  Discharges include people both alive, dead or of unknown status.

*  More than 150,000 Americans killed by CVD in 2005 were less than 65 years of age.

*  In 2009, an estimated 785,000 Americans will have a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 will have a recurrent attack.  It is estimated that an additional 195,000 silent first myocardial infarctions occur each year.

*  Each year, about 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke.  On average, every 40 seconds someone in the US has a stroke.  Good news: From 1995 to 2005, the stroke death rate fell 29.7% and the actual number of stroke deaths declined 13.5%.

Yikes!!

Are you at risk for heart disease?  Do you know what to do in the event of a heart attack?  Are you up to date on the latest CPR Myths & Tips?

Read 5 Ways to Celebrate American Heart Month for more information on how to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Here’s a Power Point Presentation for 2009 American Heart Org Stats in case you want to present these facts to your family, school or group.

 Here is a summary of “Risk Factors for Heart Disease” from the American Heart Association:

* Diabetes Mellitus – At least 65% of people with diabetes mellitus die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease.   Let Allegro help manage your diabetes with low cost Diabetes Supplies.

 * High Blood Cholesterol and Other Lipids – High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol levels of less than 40mg/dL are associated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease.  Determine your cholesterol quickly and easily with a Home Cholesterol Test Kit.

* High Blood Pressure – About 69% of people who have a first heart attack, 77% who have a first stroke and 74% who have Congestive Heart Failure have blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg.  Do you know your blood pressure?  Take it anytime, anywhere with your own blood pressure monitor

* Metabolic Syndrome – Defined as having three or more of the following abnormalities:

- Waist circumference greater than 102 cm (40 inches) in men and 88 cm (35 inches) in women.

- Triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or higher.

- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level less than 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women.

- Blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or higher or drug treatment for hypertension.

- Fasting plasma glucose level of 100 mg/dL or higher.

Men and women with the MetS were approximately 1.5 and 2 times more likely to develop CHD. Among the components of MetS, elevated blood cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol exhibited the strongest associations with CHD. Similar associations were found between the MetS and incident ischemic stroke.

Overweight and Obesity – You are considered overweight if your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 25 and higher. You are considered obese if your BMI is 30 and higher.  Get weight loss help!

Physical Inactivity – The relative risk of coronary heart disease associated with physical inactivity ranges from 1.5 to 2.4, an increase in risk comparable to that for high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure or cigarette smoking.  Get your heart pumping with these popular exercise/fitness products.

Tobacco – a whole lot of bad news for smokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke:

- From 1997-2001, an estimated 438,000 Americans died each year of smoking-related illnesses; 34.7 percent of these deaths were cardiovascular-related.

- An estimated 35,052 nonsmokers die from coronary heart disease (CHD) each year as a result of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

- One-third of those who receive percutaneous coronary artery vascularization are current smokers, and 50-60 percent continue to smoke after the procedure.

- Cigarette smoking remains a major cause of stroke in the United States. The evidence is sufficient to infer a causal relationship between smoking and subclinical atherosclerosis.

- There’s hope yet:  The 2004 Health Consequences of Smoking Report of the Surgeon General states that the risk of stroke decreases steadily after you quit smoking. Former smokers have the same risk as nonsmokers after five to 15 years.

- A study of women below age 44 found there was a strong dose-relationship for MI, with a risk of 2.5 for those smoking one to five cigarettes per day, rising to 74.6 for those smoking more than 40 cigarettes per day, compared with nonsmokers. – Another study on female smokers found the highest risk (6.8) for MI was in women younger than 55 years of age.

If you are at risk for heart disease or stroke, know that there are ways to manage these risk factors.  Please talk to you doctor about your concerns. 

Educate yourself and spread the word to your friends and family!  Read Staggering Heart Facts, Heart Attack/Stroke Warning Signs: Men vs. Women and  CPR Myths, Tips & Updates

Valentine’s Day and President’s Day aren’t the only holidays we’ll be celebrating this month. February is American Heart Month! Cross my heart.

It seems that matters of the heart are quite serious. So serious that every year since 1963, Congress has required the President to proclaim February ‘American Heart Month’.  The American Heart Association helps to draft this proclamation and get it signed.  Who knew?

Even so, after 45 years of ‘proclaiming’, cardiovascular disease remains the number 1 killer (including stroke) in our nation today. Let’s join President Obama and the American Heart Association’s plight to fight heart disease and raise awareness, shall we?

Here’s how:

1. Get Heart Smart. Like the American Heart Association (AMA) says, “learn and live”. Did you know that the death rate from cardiovascular disease (CVD) is higher for females than males? And that the warning signs of a heart attack may be different for men and women?  Read Staggering Heart Facts and Heart Attack & Stroke Warning Signs: Men vs Women.

2. Check yourself. According to the AMA, if you’ve made it to middle age (eg, 50) and you’re a non-smoker without high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes then congratulations!  You can look forward to: a substantially longer life; lower risk for CVD; lower risks for CVD death and non-CVD death; better health-related quality of life in older age; and, substantially reduced Medicare expenditures. Start monitoring your cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels now. They’re sneaky and you might not even know you’re in trouble. The good news is, they are manageable with help from your doc. If you smoke, quit it. It’s gross and stinky and stupid and so uncool,  unlike you.  Here is a List of Heart Attack & Stroke Risk Factors and Guidelines.

Products to help you measure and track from home:  cholesterol test kit, blood pressure monitors and diabetic meters & test kits.   Monitor your heart health here.

3.  Get Heart Healthy.  Eating right, staying fit and managing your weight will go a long way to keeping a heart attack at bay.  Learn how here.  Get started with  heart rate monitors.

4.  Spread the Word.  As with all diseases, I believe that awareness is half the battle.  You could save someone’s life by sharing your knowledge about heart disease with your family, friends, schools, social groups, community groups.  Even if it is just in casual conversation, try to work in “have you had your blood pressure checked lately?”  or “did you know that… ”.  The AMA asks you to be part of the cure.  Become an advocate!  Another way to spread the word is to get involved with local heart charities.  You can volunteer at hospitals, deliver leaflets door to door, start your own campaign or attend charity events.  Here are some specific ways to give.

5.  Cover your bases.  Do you know what to do in the event of a heart attack?  Do you know how to do CPR? Does your school, home, company and shopping mall have an Automated External Diffibrilator (AED)?  They are so affordable now, there is no excuse.  If you or a loved on is at risk for a heart attack you may also consider getting a 911 Medical Alert System

See all Diagnostic Products.

If you’ve read all of these articles and you crave more, visit the American Heart Association website.

Happy American Heart Month!  Please take care of yourself.  We heart you.

-v

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