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May 2006

NHM Health Focus: High Blood Pressure Education

 

High Blood Pressure
 – Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure (NHBLI)
 – Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure (NHBLI)
 – High Blood Pressure (MedlinePlus)
 – A new normal: Experts toughen blood pressure goals (Mayo Clinic)
 – High Blood Pressure (American Heart Association)
 – High Blood Pressure (Nemours Foundation)
 – High Blood Pressure in Children (American Academy of Pediatrics)
 – High Blood Pressure in Children (American Heart Association)
 – Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally (IntelliHealth)

Interactive Blood Pressure sites
 – Hypertension An Interactive Tutorial (National Library of Medicine)
 – High blood pressure quiz: Should you be concerned? (Mayo Clinic)
 – High Blood Pressure Risk Calculator (American Heart Association)
 – High Blood Pressure Quiz (IntelliHealth)
 – High Blood Pressure, a Disease Without Symptoms (MealsMatter.org)

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. This year's theme, "Mission Possible: Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure", calls attention to this very serious, but often undiagnosed condition. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition that increasingly affects young as well as older people.

Who does high blood pressure (hypertension) impact?

  • "More than 65 million American adults — 1 in 3 — have high blood pressure."
  • "Nearly 60 million Americans are over age 55 which means they have a 90 percent likelihood of developing high blood pressure in their lifetimes."
  • "African Americans are more likely to develop high blood pressure than any other racial or ethnic group and tend to develop it earlier and more severely than others."
  • "18 million Americans have diabetes which increases their chances of developing high blood pressure. "
  • "122 million American adults are overweight or obese which increases their chances of developing high blood pressure."
    National Heart Blood Lung Institute

What is the damage caused by high blood pressure?

  • High blood pressure can cause the heart to work too hard. It also makes the walls of the arteries hard increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • High blood pressure can cause weakened blood vessels to break and bleed in the brain causing a stroke. A blood clot blocking one of the narrowed arteries can also cause a stroke.
  • High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for congestive heart failure (CHF). CHF is a serious condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs.
  • High blood pressure can cause blood vessels in the eye to burst or bleed. Vision may become blurred or otherwise impaired and can result in blindness.
  • High blood pressure causes blood vessels in the kidneys to narrow and thickens the walls of blood vessels making them less efficient and causing waste to build up in the blood.
    National Heart Blood Lung Institute

"No matter what category your blood pressure falls under, adopting healthy lifestyle habits can help keep it under control. Once your blood pressure rises above 115/75 millimeters of mercury, your risk of cardiovascular complications starts increasing." Mayo Clinic

Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources related to the heart, blood and circulation:

Activities Exchange: Classic Collection - The Heart and the Circulatory System (includes background info and classroom activities)
Activities Exchange: Fellows CollectionTravel Brochure of the Body Systems
Activities Exchange: Fellows Collection
Heart Engineering Activity
Health Headquarters: Question of the WeekThe Heart
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week
Heart Disease
What's News: Newsmaker InterviewState of the Heart, the Future of Cardiology
What's News: Newsmaker InterviewState of the Art in Artificial Hearts

 



 
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