The in-laws struck a nerve at Thanksgiving, the kids are leaving snowy boots and mittens all over the foyer and each time your sock soaks in a fresh lump of snow on the floor, your blood boils a little bit hotter. It’s enough to make anyone’s blood pressure rise just a smidge.
Back in February of 2018, the American Heart Association released new blood pressure guidelines. A blood pressure of 130/80 suddenly went from being normal, to qualifying as stage 1 hypertension. Because of the new guidelines, 31 million more Americans have been diagnosed with hypertension, and this is their first holiday season managing it. Those who never considered their heart health during the holidays before, are now faced with new and challenging decisions.
Hypertension and high blood pressure are interchangeable terms, and the condition has often been called the silent killer. Most people don’t recognize they have it since there are generally no symptoms or warning signs. Physicians at Michigan Medicine’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center describe blood pressure as a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. It’s normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day, but if it stays up, that’s a problem. Blood pressure that’s too high starts to damage blood vessels, the heart and the kidneys, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke. It’s estimated that one in three adults has high blood pressure and, most of the time, the cause is unknown.