If you’ve elderly family or friends with high blood pressure (or who MIGHT have high blood pressure), DO check whether or not they’re keeping it under control. The consequences if they don’t are BAD, and not worth the risk
Didn’t realize the importance of this for a long time, and after a recent family incident, I’ve had to get up to speed on what’s going on.
Rest of this post explains my understanding of the science behind managing high blood pressure…
Pretty much from the day we’re born, to the day we die, our arteries accumulate crud (plaque). As this crud builds, it forms layers, and gradually this narrows the arteries. This happens to EVERYONE, no matter how good your lifestyle is. But certain factors like diet, stress and exercise affect how much plaque builds up.
Narrowing of your arteries increases the pressure of the blood being pumped. Think of it like a hose, as you put your finger over the end of the hose, the pressure of the water coming through increases (good for spraying things!). That same thing is happening inside your body. The heart still needs to pump blood around, and the narrowed arteries cause it to move at greater pressure.
A “healthy” blood pressure is around 120 / 80 (doesn’t need to be exactly that)
The first number (120) refers to the amount of pressure being exerted as the heart pumps. The second number (80) refers to the pressure right after the pump, as the heart fills up, ready to pump again.
150 / 90 and greater is considered “high blood pressure”.
Your body can function normally with high blood pressure. Which is why its easy to ignore. The problems mainly occur when you’ve had high blood pressure for a long time. It can weaken the structure in the blood vessel walls, potentially leading to the wall breaking.
This can happen anywhere in the body. But the place with some of the smaller (weakest?) blood vessels is the brain, and certainly its the place with the greatest consequences. If it pops in the brain, that’s a hemorrhagic stroke… not good.
Sometimes people think they can control blood pressure through diet & exercise. And whilst its true that some foods can help lower blood pressure, its takes a lot of work. So if there’s any risk that diet ISN’T getting the full results, consider medicinal drugs. Don’t let fear of “drugs” from protecting your body.
So yeah, old people, watch out for them. Take their high blood pressure seriously, even if they don’t. And who knows, maybe you’ll keep them in good shape for longer than they would otherwise.