Pre-Hypertension - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Pre-Hypertension

I'm Dr. David Vastola and and I just got finished taking Petey's blood pressure. It's an important measurement for all of us because about 25% of us have high blood pressure and many of us don't know about it. If you have high blood pressure it causes aging of the blood vessels that can lead to stroke and heart disease, which is the number one killer here in the United States. But there's a new definition that can impact even more of us - another 25%, making 50% of us at risk for hypertension. It's called pre-hypertension. Let me tell you what it is.

The National High Blood Pressure Education program in Washington is part of reason the NIH has redefined hypertension for us. Previously 140/90 were the standards. Now they say if your systolic blood pressure is between 120 and 140 you're at risk. Also if your diastolic is between 80 and 90 you're at risk. These patients need to exercise, follow the diet and be monitored very carefully because they're at risk. That represents about 25% more of us Americans. So if you consider the whole group it's one in two.

The bottom line? Get your blood pressure checked at least once a year. If you have a family history of it get it checked once every six months because, remember, it's a silent disease. Have your doctor do it or go to your local fire department and have those guys do it. Don't do it at some machine at Publix or a pharmacy, those levels are inaccurate and give you false normal results. It's that important, remember, one in two of us are at risk.

And I'm Dr. David Vastola and that's life.

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