Hypertension: A Health Power Overview

Hypertension occurs when the blood pressure, or force of blood pushing against the blood vessel walls, gets too high and stays that way. It occurs most often in African-Americans. There are two numbers in a blood pressure reading: The top number, or systolic blood pressure, occurs when the heart pumps or contracts. The bottom number, or diastolic blood pressure, occurs when the heart is resting or relaxing. Most health professionals agree that the upper range of normal blood pressure should be 120/80 or less.  These numbers were announced by the American Heart Association and other key organizations in November 2017 as the standard. Also, generally speaking, the lower the numbers are, the better. See, “Nearly half of U.S. adults could now be classified with high blood pressure, under new definitions”.

It is estimated that more than 50 million Americans have hypertension. Hypertension occurs most often in African-Americans. Nearly 4 out of every 10 (38%) of African-American adults have hypertension, as compared to nearly 3 out of 10 (29%) of white Americans. Generally speaking, the lower the numbers are, the better.Image preview

Key Risk Factors for Hypertension:

–family history of hypertension
–high salt or sodium intake
–high fat intake
–excessive alcohol intake
–inactive lifestyle (inadequate exercise)
–chronic or continuous stress
–being African-American

Some women who use oral contraceptives may have an increased risk of developing hypertension

Key Lifestyle Approaches for Hypertension Control:

–weight control
–active, regular exercise
–limiting salt intake to no more than 2.4 grams a day
–limiting alcohol intake to no more than 1 ounce a day
–taking the minimum daily requirement of potassium, calcium and magnesium
–avoiding excessive emotional stress

Hypertension is called The Silent Killer because it has no reliable symptoms. You can look and feel great and still have hypertension. You can also be young and have the disease. It can affect anyone at any age (even children.) In general, hypertension is a greater cause of disease and death in industrialized countries

Hypertension is a major and very easily identified risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. It is, therefore, very important to do everything possible to prevent it. However, if you get hypertension, please commit yourself to controlling it, not just for yourself, but also for those who love you.

Pre-hypertension – When a person’s top number is between 130 and 139, or the bottom number is between 80 and 89, he or she has a condition called Pre-Hypertension. At that time, the person should see his or her doctor, increase their physical activity, decrease their sodium (or salt) intake. However, there is increasing agreement that the systolic pressure or top number should be no higher than between 130 and 139, and the diastolic pressure or lower number should, ideally, be no higher than between 85 and 89, and generally speaking, the  lower.

If you’re interested in hypertension as it relates to race, culture, and ethnicity, we suggest that you contact the websites of the Association of Black Cardiologists  or International Society on Hypertension in Blacks. Their websites are one click away through our  Resource Directory  for Minority Health..

Please tell us:

–What do you think will help you avoid hypertension?

–Have you made lifestyle changes which others should hear about?

–Will you take care of yourself?  Who will it help if you do?

Which of the following risk factors for hypertension is controllable by you, and which ones are not?


–          Smoking

–          Obesity

–          Family History if Hypertension

–          High salt or sodium intake

–          High fat intake

–          Being African American


What are the two best ways to prevent obesity?

Remember, Knowledge + Action = Power! (R)

To Your Good Health, Physically, Mentally and Spiritually,

Dr. Goodwin

Founder and President

Health Power for MInorities

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