Saint Valentine Says Check Your Blood Pressure

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It is not too late to save your life or the lives of those you love!

The heart is a symbol for Love.

Saint Valentine’s Day will be celebrated this month on February 14th, the holiday of Love.

Saint Valentine was a priest in the Roman empire.

When the Roman Emperor decided that Roman Soldiers could not marry, Saint Valentine violated the Emperors decree by marrying Roman Soldiers in secret.

He was rewarded by the Emperor with a death sentence.

When it was ordered that he would be crucified, Saint Valentine made a request to be crucified upside down, since he did not feel worthy to be put to death in the same manner as his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

His request was honored, and he died an excruciating death.

We honor his sacrifice and dedication by celebrating the love he showed others, on Saint Valentine’s Day, a day of love.

You may consider showing your appreciation in many ways to Saint Valentine other than cards, candy and flowers.

Consider what you can do to keep your heart and the hearts of other people you care about healthy.

Heart disease is the number one killer World-Wide. Hypertension is by far, the most common, most costly and the easiest to reverse of all the CVD (cardiovascular disease) risk factors all around the world. Research within nearly 200 different countries shows high systolic blood pressure (BP) is the number one leading risk factor, accounting for over 10 million deaths. This translates to over 200 million years of life lost over the past 20 years.

And this trend has accelerated with an increase of over 60% from 2000 to 2013.

As of this writing, the total direct costs attributed to HBP are projected to triple from $130 Billion to nearly $400 Billion. The indirect costs due to lost productivity will double, from $25 billion to $42 Billion.

Due to this World-Wide Pandemic, the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS) have established hypertension as a high priority for improving people’s health, within the Healthy People 2020 national objectives.

The Goals of Healthy People 2020 are:

  • Increase the proportion of adults with HBP whose BP is under control by 18% by the end of this year.
  • Reduce the proportion of adults diagnosed with HBP by 10% by the end of this year.

If you are thinking: “I work out, I am perfectly healthy, I have nothing to worry about.” I hope you are right, but humor me and keep reading, just in case you are wrong.

The lifetime risk for you to develop HBP is over 90%!!!

Currently, 20% of people with elevated BP will develop HBP within 4 years!

Early diagnose is essential to saving your life, so check your BP on a regular basis.

Much damage can be done to your body if you only check your BP at your annual physical.

Lifesaving Lifestyle Factors are also essential including:

  • Regular aerobic exercise
  • Regular restful sleep (7-8hrs/night)
  • Hydration
  • Healthy eating (limit dietary fat and cholesterol)
  • No tobacco products: smoking, chewing, etc
  • Limit alcohol beverages: 1/day woman, 2/day men: MAX
  • No recreational Drugs
  • Stress management

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and The American Heart Association (AHA) defines hypertension (HBP) as:

  1. a resting Systolic BP of 130 mm Hg
  2. or a resting Diastolic BP of 80 mm Hg or greater
  3. or taking antihypertensive medication
  4. or being told by a physician or health professional on at least 2 occasions that you have HBP.

Normal BP is 120/80 or lower. I advise you to monitor your BP weekly (though it would not hurt you to monitor both your BP and resting heart rate Daily).

The sooner you catch any rise in BP, the better chance you have of taking immediate corrective action to reverse any further degeneration.

The current classifications of BP are:

BP Classification                    SP (mmHg)                         DBP (mmHg)

Normal                                              <120                                      <80

Elevated                                           120-129                                 <80

Stage 1

Hypertension:                                130-139                                 80-90

Stage 2

Hypertension:                                ≥ 140                                    ≥ 90

Even at Stage 1, your risk of dying of a cardiac event increases over 10%.

HBP is a mysterious disease, complicated and multifaceted since it is influenced by so many factors:

  • physical activity
  • diet
  • your DNA (genetics)
  • stress
  • and multiple physiological systems including hormonal, renal, vascular, cardia, central and peripheral adrenergic systems and more.

The signs and symptoms of HBP are even more mysterious.

HBP is called the “Silent Killer” because 95% of people do not know they have HBP. Typically, the only people that experience any symptoms are people who get abrupt elevations of BP, such as during a “Hypertensive Crisis: BP ≥ 180/120,” rather than people with HBP.

Symptoms of Hypertension Crisis include:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • palpitations
  • epistaxis (stoppage)
  • hematuria (blood in urine)
  • blurry vision

Obviously, any symptoms you get like those above require you to see your doctor ASAP, or a rapid trip to an Emergency Room.

IFPA Certified Personal Trainers can have a tremendous opportunity and a responsibility to lead people back to full health through Lifestyle Modification.

Lifestyle Modifications are similar to those mentioned above:

  • Healthy Diet: Use the DASH Dietary Program.

Diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products with reduced saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol (beef, eggs,etc.)

  • Weight Loss: Focus on losing excess weight and body fat: Expect 1mmHg for every 1kg reduction in body weight.
  • Sodium: < 1500 mg/day
  • Potassium: 3,500 – 5,000 mg/day: preferably from healthy diet
  • Physical Activity: 90-150 min/ week: 56-75% HRR
  • Physical Activity: 90-150 min/week: 50-80% HRR: Strength Training 2-3 times/week, 6 exercises, 3 sets/exercise, 10 Reps/set
  • Physical Activity: Flexibility Training: All muscle groups/joints (Follow IFPA Certified Personal Trainer Guidelines) most days/week
  • Physical Activity: Isometric Resistance training: 4×2 min (hand grip), 1 min rest between sets, 30-40% of MAX

In all cases of BP above: 120/80, please see your doctor.

All IFPA Personal Trainers have a responsibility to help their clients, their loved one’s and themselves to live longer, healthier and happier lives. Honor St. Valentine by keeping HEARTS HEALTHY!

Happy St. Valentine’s Day

From All of at the IFPA!

Dr. Jim Bell, CEO IFPA

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