It was great chatting with Sister Yvette about a common but serious condition called high blood pressure. Blood pressure is a measurement of the blood that flows within your blood vessels. It is written as a ratio of two numbers (e.g. 119/70, 175/80). Normal range for the top number, systolic blood pressure (SBP), is 90-119. Normal range for the bottom number, diastolic blood pressure (DBP), is 60-79. Check out this brief video that explains blood pressure.
Although blood pressure changes during the day, high blood pressure (also called hypertension) is when your SBP is ≥140 or your DBP is ≥90 for sustained periods throughout the day. Hypertension can lead to many serious complications including stroke, kidney disease, blindness, dementia, and heart disease.
While there are some biologic differences in how blacks process salt and respond to different medications, some experts believe the increased risk of hypertension is due to the unique experience of blacks in America. Blacks worldwide have rates of high blood pressure that are similar to whites. In the U.S., however 41% of blacks have hypertension compared to 27% of whites. Discrimination and economic inequality are impacting this difference. Black people in the U.S are also more likely to be overweight than blacks in other countries. See other risk factors below:
While you cannot change your race/ethnicity, age, or family history, all of the other risk factors for high blood pressure are in your control. Reduce alcohol consumption and stop smoking!! It is important to find other ways to reduce stress. Prayer, meditation, and exercise are 3 alternative ways to reduce stress. Find what works for you!! Perhaps even a trial of Yoga – enter the Healthy Giveaway contest for free equipment!!
Pay attention to what you eat and increase your activity level. For those already diagnosed, weight loss and exercise can help reduce the need for medication! The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet plan has been scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure. It includes eating less fat and saturated fat as well as eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole-grain food. Here’s a brief overview of the DASH diet.
One of our callers last Sunday correctly indicated the lack of good, healthy choices in certain communities. These "food deserts" were discussed on a prior radio show - we've got to keep advocating on behalf of our neighborhoods. Our health and our future is at stake!
~One Drop of Knowledge can Ripple Through an Entire Community