Understanding High Blood Pressure

Understanding High Blood Pressure

by Thea Mangels, Office Coordinator

Have you had your blood pressure checked recently? If you are an employee insured through the diocesan health insurance plan, remember that a blood pressure screening is part of your free annual physical. 

What is Hypertension?

High blood pressure (hypertension) increases your risk for several conditions, including heart disease, congestive heart failure, kidney damage and stroke. Pre-hypertension means you’re likely to develop high blood pressure unless you take steps to control it.  Click here to see the difference between normal blood pressure and high blood pressure in this About.com video. Remember, the healthier you are, the more effective you are in your ministry.

Are you in danger of hypertension or pre-hypertension?  Consider these numbers according to the American Heart Association:

· 140/90 = high
· 120/80-139/89 = pre-hypertension
· <120/80 = normal

Lifestyle Modifications

High blood pressure is treated through lifestyle modifications and possible medication management. Click here for information on prevention, life style modifications and treatment for high blood pressure.  Lifestyle modifications are much healthier and less expensive than allowing blood pressure issues to worsen to the point that medical intervention is required.

Lifestyle modifications include:

· Following a healthy eating plan that includes limiting the amount of salt and alcohol consumption.  Click here for "The Health Benefits of Breakfast," or here for "Simple ways to Improve your Eating Habits;" two articles on healthy eating.
· Exercising regularly. Click here to read our article on staying fit in the workplace.  (Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.)
· Quitting smoking
· Managing your stress.  Stress can raise your blood pressure.  Click here for an article on 5 ways to decrease your stress. 

The DASH Diet

If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), several studies suggest the DASH diet may help control the condition. The DASH diet is rich in vegetables, fruit and low-fat dairy. The diet suggests incorporating serving sizes such as:

· Seven to eight servings of grains
· Four to five servings of vegetables
· Four to five servings of fruit
· Two to three servings of low-fat dairy foods
· No more than two servings of meat, poultry and fish
· Two to three servings of fats and oils. (Foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol are limited).

This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a health care professional with any questions about personal health care status, and prior to making changes in approaches to diet and exercise.

Source: The Episcopal Church Medical Trust, About.com, The American Heart Association, & The Mayo Clinic

Why does the Church care about Wellness? Click here 

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