When I was a very small boy I saw my grandmother have a heart attack. I remember her children, my mom and her brothers, frantically rushing to get her in a car to drive her to the hospital. That was the last memory I have of her. Needless to say, it made a lasting impression on me and our entire family.
The CDC estimates that 68 million people have high blood pressure in the United States. For some perspective Heart disease kills almost 19 times more people annually than guns, and that includes all gun deaths, even suicides and accidents.
I read and write something about about health everyday and there is much more hype around super foods and high-intensity exercise than simply getting your blood pressure checked.
|Research Trip India, 2009|
I cannot stress how important it is to check your blood pressure. Not checking your blood pressure is extremely risky. One way to think about your blood pressure is that it measures the health of your heart and arteries, which are the highways that transport food and oxygen to every part of your body. Your heart is the engine that makes that happen. Said another way, in the dark ages, when king a wanted to attack an enemy’s castle they would block the routes in and out of the castle so no food or supplies can enter. The people inside would starve or surrender. If your organs and other vital parts of your body are blocked from getting food and oxygen they would die. If your blood pressure is high that could mean there is a disruption somewhere along the highway.
This dysfunction can be the result of too much fat and inflammation in the arteries or problems with the heart muscle itself. This indicator of a problem can lead not only to a heart attack, it can also cause permanent scarring of your kidneys, loss of eye sight and limbs, as well as other problems. So waiting on checking your BP or not treating high blood pressure with lifestyle change and/or medication is doing long-term damage to your vital organs and they call them vital for good reason.
To repeat, my main argument here is that keeping up with your health indicators through a spreadsheet is far more beneficial than eating blueberry smoothies. I think many people forego checking because they are afraid that they will have to make drastic changes to their diet and lifestyle. I love food, tasty food, and I can say that small changes to your diet and a little exercise go a long way. The bonus is that if you make those small changes early, inspired by the knowledge of your BP, then you can still eat many of the foods you want. If you wait and you will have to make drastic changes in a short period of time.
Sometimes I think what my life would have been like if my grandmother were alive. Her death left a weak spot in our whole family, in fact much of our family became estranged after her death. So help keep your family together by staying healthy and checking your blood pressure often.