“Oh it’s just up because I was in a rush to get here”
“Oh it’s just up because I took the stairs”
“Oh it’s just up because I’m feeling a little stressed”.
It is easy to try to rationalize a high blood pressure reading in the office. Another common one I hear is “It’s only up in the office, never at home”.
Most of the studies that have been done tracking adverse effects of blood pressure have actually been based on a single set of blood pressure readings in the office.
And stress does affect blood pressure in some people. The question is “how much and how often are you stressed?” If the stress of a doctor’s visit is enough to put your blood pressure up, what about pressures from family and children and work? What
portion of the day is your blood pressure up as a result of stress?
The adverse effects of long term unaddressed blood pressure include blindness, kidney disease, stroke, heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease and many others. Many people
with mild or intermittent hypertension with no symptoms who are untreated or undertreated assume that those risks don’t pertain to them – that the risks apply to older people and people with more severe hypertension.
Now, a recent study in Circulation goes one step beyond validating the importance of high blood pressure readings in the office as being significant. It shows that a single set of normal readings in the office is not enough to rule out subtle changes in blood pressure that can be deadly and disabling in the longer term. The study tracked blood pressure over 14 years beginning at age 41.
They found that women who developed hypertension between ages 41 and 55 had a 49% lifetime risk of heart attack or stroke, compared to those whose blood pressure remained normal, who have a 22% lifetime risk.
So it MATTERS if your blood pressure reading tends to increase easily when your stressed or in a rush.
This doesn’t mean you need to start medications right away, and in fact we usually don’t recommend that you do. But it is VERY important to take it as a warning sign, and put your health first.
Hypertension is a killer, untreated.
Structured lifestyle changes, including a modified Mediterranean food plan, physical activity plan, sleep and stress management, careful supplement and medical food selection, are the initial first steps, and Women’s Health Connection can help. If these measures do not make a substantial difference (ie bring blood pressure down to less than 140/90), then medications become necessary in addition to lifestyle changes, but ongoing lifestyle changes help reduce the amount of medication that is necessary.
At Women’s Health Connection, blood pressure is measured at rest, in both arms, at every visit, as recommended by the current guidelines on hypertension detection and treatment.
Call us at (509) 465-8885 to set up your preventative examination today, or to find out more about treating chronic medical conditions, such as hypertension with intensive lifestyle changes.