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Checking blood pressure levels regularly is important

July 24, 2012
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About 73 million people in America over the age of 20 have high blood pressure; that translates into one in three adults. Many people go for years without being diagnosed, because there may not be any symptoms until a heart attack or stroke; therefore, checking blood pressure levels regularly is important.
Because it is so common, there are many myths circulating about treatment, prevention and how an elevated blood pressure affects the rest of the body.  Obviously, following your own doctor’s advice is the best way to treat any condition. Your doctor knows your health history and will advise based on your own medical condition. Here are some of the more common myths about high blood pressure, and the real truth:
Myth: Cholesterol matters more than blood pressure.
Fact: High blood pressure makes high cholesterol even more dangerous.  Because high blood pressure is constantly putting stress on your blood vessels, it makes it easier for the bad LDL cholesterol particles to penetrate the inner lining of the vessel walls to form plaque that eventually leads to heart attack and stroke.
Myth: If I have high blood pressure and begin to feel sick, it’s probably due to the elevated blood pressure.
Fact: Whatever is causing your symptoms is elevating your blood pressure, not the other way around.  Fever, a virus, or experiencing pain will all cause blood pressure to increase.  If you check your pressure regularly, understand that being sick will tend to elevate it.
Myth: 120/80 is normal.
Fact: It’s not normal for everyone. Some people have naturally lower blood pressure; others may have health conditions that warrant aiming for a lower reading. Target blood pressure level is best determined within the context of other cardiovascular risk factors.  For example, if a patient also has diabetes or is overweight, their ideal blood pressure level may be lower than 120/80.
Myth: If blood pressure medication makes me feel worse, it’s okay to stop taking it.
Fact: It’s never a good idea to stop taking a prescribed medication without checking with your doctor first. If you are experiencing side effects, a different medication may be the answer, but only with your doctor’s recommendation.  There are a variety of medications available and a different type or a combination of several may be the best choice for you. Work with your doctor before making any changes.
Myth: People don’t actually die from high blood pressure.
Fact: Every two minutes, one American dies from complications due to high blood pressure.  Some of these victims didn’t even know they had it.
Myth: Medication is the best way to lower high blood pressure.
Fact: Lifestyle changes can significantly lower high blood pressure. A healthier diet, reducing caffeine intake, managing stress better and becoming more active are all great changes to make in your life. You’ll be healthier overall and your blood pressure may lower naturally. It may be that a combination of lifestyle changes and medication is the best route.
Again, working with your doctor is the best way to combat high blood pressure.

Article source: http://www.sulphurdailynews.com/news/x246333460/Weekly-Health-Report-Common-blood-pressure-myths-put-to-rest

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