You’re sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office texting on your phone, reading a magazine or casually admiring the tacky wallpaper. After a short wait the nurse calls your name. You follow her back through the maze of doors and she starts her usual tests – height, weight, blood pressure, body temperature, etc. Did you ever stop to think WHY do they do these tests? Height and weight are pretty self explanatory. Body temperature is taken because if it’s too high, you have a fever – so your body is trying to rid itself from infection. A low body temperature can mean hypothermia, cold exposure, shock, diabetes, hypothyroidism, etc. What does blood pressure mean? I’ve been getting a lot of questions since my last post: http://heatherbergdahl.com/2014/06/30/top-5-ways-to-lower-your-blood-pressure/
Let’s first establish what is good blood pressure and what is bad blood pressure. Anytime you read a blood pressure number it’s systolic over diastolic. If your blood pressure is less than 90 (systolic) and 60 (diastolic) then you are hypotensive. A normal/typical blood pressure is 90 – 120 (systolic) over 60 – 80 (diastolic). A pre-hypertensive patient is 120 – 139 (systolic) over 80 – 89 (diastolic). Hypertension is 140 and up (systolic) over 90 and up (diastolic). Now that we have the numbers established, let’s look at a few reasons that cause high blood pressure:
1). Genetics/Family History – not much you can do about that – you either get lucky or… not.
2). Age – the older you are, the higher risk you are for having hypertension.
3). Poor diet – high salt intake, high fat, too much alcohol can all contribute to high blood pressure.
4). Not exercising – a lack of physical activity can lead to over weight/obesity.
5). Smoking – this causes a lot of health problems, but in this case it causes your blood vessels to decrease in diameter – which increases your blood pressure.
6). Diabetes and Pregnancy – patients with diabetes are at risk for hyperglycemia, overweight, obesity, etc – which can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure in pregnant women is known as preeclampsia- which can be life threatening.
7). Long term stress – when stress isn’t managed it can lead to high blood pressure in the long term.
Send me your questions in regards to blood pressure! Comment below!
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you.
We are in charge of our attitudes.
We learned about it in school and I remember thinking… “REALLY?!” To me, I couldn’t believe that this was an actual affliction. I recently got a chance to go to a local doctor’s office and shadow the head doctor for the day. She explained that with certain patients she chooses to wear or NOT wear her white coat. I immediately had a ton of questions. I had to know WHY. According to her it can be caused by many things including anxiety, stress or generalized fear of the doctor’s office. She even proved it to me. That day, she tested 5 patients. She walked in and took an initial blood pressure reading with her white coat on. She waited about ten minutes, re-entered the patient room and apologized to the patient and took a second reading, this time WITHOUT the white coat. Each time the patient’s blood pressure was slightly lower. I tried to argue that maybe their stress level went down after a while or maybe it was the “wait-time” period. So, in order to prove me wrong. She did the experiment in the reverse. She first entered the room for blood pressure readings without the white coat and then re-entered wearing the white coat. I had a hard time believing the statistics. When the doctor wore the white coat, blood pressure readings were higher, sometimes not by much, just a couple points, but nonetheless. When the patient comes into the doctor’s office or even the hospital, they associate it with a place where “bad things happen.” People try to avoid them as much as possible, so when they do have to go it’s a stressful experience. I can in fact confirm that – WHITE COAT SYNDROME DOES EXIST!!!!