Updated: May 15, 2018
Mmm ok...why a hose?
I like to describe high blood pressure as though you were clogging the end of a garden hose. We all know what happens to the water pressure as the hose gets smaller! And of course most of us already know the common risk factors for clogging our arteries or shrinking our “hoses” if you will. Things like fatty and salty diets, smoking and sedentary life styles - sure. But there really are so many other factors involved when it comes to high blood pressure that you might not be aware of. I mean they don’t call this beast the silent killer for nothing...
Lets imagine you walk into a sandwich shop and see a young fit man there eating his salad full of quinoa and kale (so healthy you can’t help but roll eyes a bit as you order your Philly cheese steak with extra cheese because yum) are you thinking that he could have chronically high blood pressure? Of course not! But what if he did? What about the factors we don’t have control of? Things like stress levels, genetics, kidney health and age.
I always tease Alex and say that my Dad is the strongest man I know. If Alex says he can’t do something around the house my reply is usually “well my dad could do it” (then I run away before he has a chance to tackle me!) My Father is what some people would describe as a jack of all trades, a workaholic, a “can do it all” type of man. He was here last weekend to help us finish our basement renovation and I watched as he effortlessly carried in lumber and sheets of drywall. When I think of my dad and how active and fit he is, I would never have thought that he struggles with hypertension (high blood pressure). He just doesn’t fit the bill! But he does, he recently had to wear a monitor to track his blood pressures throughout the day in order to re-adjust his blood pressure medications. When he told me what some of his higher readings were, it was hard not to be concerned. My point with this blog is to say that had my dad not gone years ago to have his blood pressure routinely checked, he would have no idea that he even had high blood pressure. In our First Aid courses we teach about the difference between “what is a sign” and “what is a symptom”, but with Hypertension there are usually ZERO signs and symptoms that we can detect. That is why in healthcare we refer to it often as the silent killer. The slow clogging of your ‘hoses’ until finally a potentially fatal blockage occurs. Hypertension is the leading risk factor for Heart Attack and Stroke.
Not so fun “Fun Facts”
An estimated 7.5 M Canadians have hypertension – that’s 1 in 5 of us!
The lifetime risk for developing hypertension among adults aged 55 to 65 years with normal blood pressure is 90%
An estimated 40% of adults over the age of 25 have hypertension
Hypertension is responsible for up to 50% of deaths due to heart disease and stroke and is a leading cause of kidney disease and kidney failure
Feeling the pressure to celebrate Hypertension Awareness? Get your blood pressure checked!
Facts referenced from: