High blood pressure is a serious condition! The American Heart Association reports that data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004 shows the estimated prevalence of high blood pressure in adults age 20 and older in the United States is now at 72 million people. High blood pressure (hypertension) is not just an American problem but also a global problem.
For many there are no symptoms of high blood pressure. That is why it is called The Silent Killer. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked or check it yourself with an accurate blood pressure monitor -- not just one time, but regularly and at home. Most people only know what their blood pressure is when they visit their health care team. That may not be an accurate reading. Blood pressure varies. For many, blood pressure is higher and more dangerous in the morning (see morningbp.com). Some people have white coat hypertension. This is when a person’s blood pressure is higher in the doctor’s office or any time a health care professional takes their blood pressure, than it actually is any other time. They may be misdiagnosed and treated for high blood pressure and not actually have high blood pressure. And some have masked hypertension. This is when a person’s blood pressure is normal when in the presence of a health care professional, but high at other times. In this case the high blood pressure can be missed, not diagnosed or treated.
I am passionate about this field because my paternal grandmother died at 47 years old from high blood pressure. My maternal grandmother had a stroke from high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. I watched her suffer, unable to walk or talk for 10 years. I believe in both cases that had they known and been treated adequately, these complications could have been prevented. I don’t want to see complications of high blood pressure happen to another person.
I also understand that low blood pressure can also be a problem. “Today, we don’t have a number for a low, because we know the lower the better. That is if one can tolerate it.” I was a home health nurse for almost 16 years. I learned that for some people who got weak and dizzy and fell, these problems could have been prevented by checking and knowing their blood pressure. “With this information peoples’ medications can be better adjusted and improve the quality and quantity of their life.”
One of my greatest honors was being asked to be the Official Spokesperson for Omron Healthcare, Inc., the world leader in blood pressure monitoring. This gives me a platform to communicate with both health care professionals and the general public about the importance of blood pressure, how to prevent high blood pressure, monitor it, and manage it.