Dr. Qaadri

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High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure
Hypertension

By Dr. Shafiq Qaadri, MD

Blood pressure is the pumping force of your heart that is felt all throughout your blood vessels over the whole body. Your heart is a pump, and the force, energy, intensity of that pump is what we call blood pressure.

Like everything in the body, blood pressure has to be balanced, neither too high, nor too low, but in the middle, a golden mean. Your body needs ideal blood pressure and you should eat foods that lower blood pressure by following the DASH diet.

  • DANGER

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE is very dangerous. It is known as a silent, ticking time-bomb because for the most part, people do not actually feel it.

The other thing to note is that it comes upon people slowly, usually as a part of aging. So as men age above 35 and women age above 45, their blood vessels, the blood pipes, become harder and stiffer. Thats what leads to the increased force, the increased push, the increased pressure, in those pipes.

  • RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE

With time, that can set people up for clogging of the arteries and exploding blood vessels. Thats why High blood pressure or hypertension is a major danger, a major risk factor, for Heart disease and Stroke.

NEW SPEED LIMIT FOR BLOOD PRESSURE

My personal recommendation is that adults should try to get their blood pressure

  • BELOW 130/80.
  • 130/80 is the NEW SPEED LIMIT FOR BLOOD PRESSURE.

130/80 should be considered the upper limit of normal. That means, to be safe, to relax your blood vessels, your blood pressure should be reasonably below this number.

This idea, having your blood pressure below 130/80, is still very new even to doctors.

We were taught in medical school that having a pressure up to 140/90 was okay. But we know now that this is too high. Doctors who let their patients walk around at 140/90 or above are not helping their patients fully.

I REPEAT, 140/90 is too high, and is not low enough to protect our hearts, kidneys, brains and minds.

  • BE MORE AGGRESSIVE TREATING HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

Doctors also need to be much more aggressive about treating High blood pressure to this target. Very often, patients will have a blood pressure that does not seem to be terribly high, for example 150/90, perhaps even 160/100. And the doctor, trying to be nice to the patient, will just let it go.

I REPEAT, the doctor will just let it go.

The doctor thinks to himself, Well, the patient is already on one blood pressure pill, and they are taking other pills for other conditions, so I dont want to trouble them anymore. So I wont prescribe any other medication, and lets hope for the best, and maybe the blood pressure will go down on its own. Maybe they were just nervous today, maybe they were rushing around today, and thats why their pressure is up. See you next time.

While the doctor is well-intentioned, trying to do his best, this IS WRONG (usually).

We must get our patients down to 130/80 or less. That will protect you over time. Do not wait to have heart pain, a heart attack, or a stroke, or damage your kidneys further.

REMEMBER, only about 15% of high blood pressure patients actually have it controlled properly.

This brings up the issue of medications.

  • MORE THAN ONE BLOOD PRESSURE PILL

Usually, TO GET TO THIS TREATMENT TARGET OF 130/80, you will need MORE than one blood pressure pill. Generally, speaking, even if a patient is okay with one pill, he will eventually need more because thats the way high blood pressure is. As we age, put on weight, have less physical activity, have continued stress, and so on, we tend to need more than one blood pressure medication to completely protect ourselves.

MY EXPERIENCE is that Diet control, Salt reduction, and Exercise sound good, but they are difficult to do properly over time. Generally, we recommend excellent medications that will not only lower your blood pressure but protect other organs, like the heart, kidney, and brain.

You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to know your blood pressure and get it down to acceptable levels.

To summarize, here are my key BLOOD PRESSURE messages:

  1. High blood pressure is dangerous.
  2. The majority of people who have high blood pressure either dont know it or dont get it treated appropriately.
  3. Doctors and patients need to be more aggressive, more vigilant, more intense about measuring blood pressure and treating it well.
  4. REMEMBER, only about 15% of high blood pressure patients actually have it controlled properly.
  5. The new speed limit, the upper limit, is 130/80.
  6. Most high blood pressure patients will need MORE THAN ONE MEDICATION to reach this target of 130/80.
  7. Too many people will never hear this message and they will not PREVENT heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure and sudden death.

TAKE THIS MESSAGE TO HEART.

Dr. Shafiq Qaadri is a Toronto family physician and Continuing Medical Education lecturer. www.doctorQ.ca





 
















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