October 17, 2013
We never give it much thought – the beating of our heart or the rush of blood throughout our circulatory system, bringing life giving oxygen and nutrients to our entire body. Every now and then, when I’m lying in bed at night and all is still and quiet – I can hear my heart going “thump” in the night.
Time, obligations and some diseases often limit our ability to exercise, but, bottom line — and there’s always a bottom line — the most important muscle you can exercise is your heart. One of the best ways to measure our hearts health is our blood pressure. You should know your blood pressure – once you know it keep this in mind: normal blood pressure is considered 120/79 or below - a blood pressure of 120-139/80-90 is considered pre-hypertension – and if you are an adult and your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, you have high blood pressure.
“Well, I know it’s a little high – but it won’t kill me,” that was the response from one of my clients after I checked her blood pressure and found it to be high (she didn’t get to work out – I sent her to her doctor). It’s important that each of you know the following: high blood pressure within your heart, arteries and organs can over-time – increase your risk for and cause stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and sudden cardiac arrest. And so, yeah – high blood pressure can kill you!
Sudden cardiac arrest means that the heart stops pumping blood - suddenly, without warning. Often it’s due to an abnormal heart rhythm or a heart attack. Right now only about 5 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive – not good. However, there are several steps we can take to increase this survival rate to 20 percent or more - that could save at least 40,000 lives a year. What’s involved with this four-step process (developed by the American Heart Association) to save lives during cardiovascular emergencies – are “links”.
Simply put – the objective is to use a “chain of events” that will minimize the time from the onset of symptoms to treatment. There are four “links” in our chain of events – they are “early”: Access to medical care, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), de fibrillation, and advanced (post attack) care. Briefly – let’s look at “early access to medical care”. Early access means that those involved with a cardiovascular emergency recognize the emergency exists and then, they immediately call the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) – using 911. The 911 system automatically displays the caller’s address and phone number to help eliminate confusion.
How do you know when to call 911? Do you wait – do you look for additional signs and wait for someone to perform CPR? Here’s another “bottom line” — see I told you there’s always a bottom line — NEVER wait to call 911. Rather err in the call than lose the life dependent on it. I hope you have seen your doctor this year to have your blood pressure checked. If you haven’t please stop by your local drug store. Many of them provide you with the ability to check your blood pressure. You know your phone number, your age and your address - - there’s no more important number you should know than you blood pressure. I remind each of you that you are a gift – you are loved and treasured. Please take the time to have your blood pressure checked – it only takes “a little time” to “save a lifetime”.