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Heart Healthy for the Holidays--Hypertension

We think of high blood pressure as something that increases with  stress. . .and the holiday season has lots of triggers! This condition is actually a silent public health enemy: it affects one in four adults, generally with no symptoms, and is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and death. High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition where the pressure of your blood traveling through your arteries is higher than normal.  This force can damage the walls of the blood vessels and cause the heart to have to work harder.

Hypertension affects women and men equally, although men are more likely to be affected younger and women are more likely to be affected after menopause. Hypertension is the most common reason for medical visits and total prescription drug sales in the United States.

We asked cardiologist Dr. Dervilla McCann what blood pressure is, numbers we need to keep in mind.

"120 over 80 is a normal blood pressure, optimal blood pressure is a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80, but high blood pressure happens in a sort of a spectrum of disease and anything under 130 systolic and less than 85 diastolic is considered normal".

The good news is that hypertension is simple to diagnose and can be effectively treated with lifestyle modifications and medicine. 

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Created: 12/19/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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