Ahhh, spring! The weather is temperate, the flowers are in bloom, the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the breeze is blowing. In other words, it just doesn’t get much better than this! Whether it’s gardening or hitting the hike and bike trail, it just feels right to be outdoors during this time of the year. For many of us, it’s also the time where we begin to get ready for swimsuit season by taking a closer look at our figures. While you’re looking at your figure, why not also take a closer look at your blood pressure?
High blood pressure is a serious - and potentially fatal - condition which contributes to heart disease, the number one killer in the United States, as well as stroke. Untreated, high blood pressure leads to the development of arteriosclerosis, a form of cardiovascular or heart disease. Arteriosclerosis occurs when the arteries, which are normally flexible, harden and thicken as a result of the added pressure in the blood vessels caused from hypertension. As the artery walls thicken, they also narrow which make is more difficult for blood to flow properly.
May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month and there is both good news and bad news for those with the condition. According to the results of research published in the April 25, 2011 edition of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, by Earl S. Ford, M.D., M.P.H., death rates for those with high blood pressure are on the decline. The bad news is that in comparison to those without high blood pressure, death rates remain inexcusably high.
Ford’s research was based on the examination of the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study and the NHANES III Linked Mortality Study. NHAMES I occurred over a four-year span from 1971 to 1975. NHANES III began 13 years later in 1988 and lasted until 1994. As a part of his research, Ford reviewed death rates from participants between the ages of 25 and 74 years from both the NHANES I and III studies.