I have High Blood Pressure
I am 30 years old. and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) at the age of 29.
To say I was in shock when I was diagnosed would be an understatement.
I thought I was healthy overall. Eating healthy, staying active and fit.
I have never been overweight – my BMI is 21. I am active on my days off: I do yoga, Irish-step dancing (don’t argue with me, this is a sport) and go hiking in the mountains.
Fortunately, I caught it early while attempting to donate blood. Surprisingly, two months previous my blood pressure had been normal at 122/80.
I was up to 153/109!
I immediately made an appointment with my primary care doctor. She was not overly concerned at the development of high blood pressure at my age. Routine blood and urine tests were done and returned normal. My doctor chalked it up to genetics since my family has a history of hypertension.
Being a 4+ year cardiac nurse, I was not completely satisfied with this conclusion. But, I had to go on blood pressure medicine (lisinopril) to get my blood pressure under control.
What’s the Big Deal?
High blood pressure is known as the silent killer. High blood pressure puts extra strain on the heart and blood vessels (the cardiovascular system). This increases the risk for heart attacks and strokes, but it rarely causes noticeable signs and symptoms.
Hypertension is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.
In most cases, the damage done by hypertension takes place over time. But, high Blood pressure that us not controlled or diagnosed can cause:
- Heart attacks — High blood pressure damages the arteries in the heart that can become blocked and prevent blood from flowing to tissues in the heart muscle.
- Strokes — High blood pressure can cause blood vessels in the brain to rupture (hemorrhagic stroke) or clog (ischemic stroke) more easily and prevent flow of blood through the brain.
- Heart failure — The heart has to increase its workload to combat high blood pressure which causes the heart muscle to enlarge and fail to supply blood to the body over time.
- Kidney disease and failure — High blood pressure can damage the arteries supplying the kidneys and interfere with their ability to effectively filter blood.
- Vision loss — High blood pressure can strain or damage blood vessels in the eyes.
- Sexual dysfunction — This can be erectile dysfunction in men or lower libido in women.
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD) — Atherosclerosis caused by high blood pressure can cause a narrowing of arteries in the legs, arms, stomach and head, causing poor circulation, pain and/or fatigue.
I am Not Alone
According to the CDC, one in three American, which is about 70 million people, has high blood pressure. And, almost half of these people don’t have their blood pressure under control.
An estimated 13 million adults in the U.S. have hypertension but are undiagnosed and aren’t even aware they have it and are, therefore, not being treated.
These are some pretty big numbers: 70 Million Americans!
The Take Away: Why am I Talking About This on Finance Blog?
Taking care of yourself and living a healthy life will pay off in dividends in the long run.
With skyrocketing healthcare costs, managing illnesses and chronic medical conditions can be expensive.
We millennials are not immune to medical problems starting in our 20s and 30s. It’s important that we take control of our health now and hopefully prevent large, expensive medical problems in the future.
Make sure you are seeing your doctor on a yearly basis, and get your blood pressure checked regularly. Even if you are still young and healthy, make sure you know your numbers.
Remember, I was only 29 when I was diagnosed whith high blood pressure. And, I am lucky that I caught it early.
And, if you do have high blood pressure, please make sure you are being treated and your blood pressure is under control!
Next, I will be posting on what I have done this past year to take control of my health and blood pressure. I am still on lisionpril, but I have managed to decrease my dose from 10mg daily to 2.5mg daily.