By Nicole Crane, BS, NTP
In the United States alone, 72 million adults, nearly one third of all people over the tender age of 20, have high blood pressure, according to the National Heart and Lung Association. Worldwide, the number of people expected to have elevated blood pressure has been estimated to climb to 1.56 billion by 2025. When blood pressure remains uncontrolled, it can have serious consequences like damage to the heart, arteries and other organs. This can increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or other heart diseases like congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis (fatty buildup in arteries causing hardening of the arteries) peripheral artery disease and other heart and vascular problems.
Over time, high blood pressure can also do damage to the kidneys, allow for fluid to accumulate in the lungs and affect the healthy flow of blood to the brain and around the body. i Having normal, healthy blood pressure is an important aspect of overall wellness.
Healthy blood pressure is considered normal when it is 120/80 ml/mg. The top number is a systolic reading and measures the pressure as the heart pumps blood around the body. The bottom number, the diastolic reading, measures pressure as the heart relaxes and refills with blood. Once those readings reach over 140/90, it is considered to be high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. There are many factors that get the blame when someone had high blood pressure, like inactivity, being overweight, excess sodium intake, a diet high in processed and fatty foods, and alcohol and tobacco use. Stress, age, ethnicity and metabolic problems like diabetes can also affect blood pressure.