Tags: High | Blood | Pressure | Myths

Ten High Blood Pressure Myths

Friday, 10 Oct 2008 09:56 AM

By Sylvia Booth Hubbard

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In the last decade, the number of adults suffering from high blood pressure has increased 30 percent. It affects one in three adults, and as many as 70 percent of patients don’t have their condition under control.

High blood pressure is often misunderstood, and many old wives tales and other misconceptions surround its cause and treatment. Relying on them can put your health in jeopardy.

Here are the top 10 high blood pressure myths:

• 120/80 is normal blood pressure. Fact: No longer. A good reading is now defined as less

than 120/80.

• If I had high blood pressure, I would feel bad. Fact: High blood pressure often has no symptoms.

• Diet doesn’t work. Fact: A heart-healthy diet can be even more effective than drugs for controlling high blood pressure. And a healthy diet will also lower your risk of diabetes, stroke, heart attack, and cancer.

• Cholesterol is more important that blood pressure. Fact: Even though you may have a high cholesterol level, if your ratio of HDL (“good” cholesterol) to LDL (“bad” cholesterol) is good, you don’t have a high risk of stroke. However, high blood pressure continuously stresses your circulatory system.

• You should measure your blood pressure daily. Fact: Once a week is fine.

• If I reduce stress and cut caffeine, I won’t develop high blood pressure. Fact: Caffeine only seems to raise blood pressure temporarily, and stress reduction doesn’t seem to prevent hypertension.

• A bad headache could mean you’re about to have a stroke. Fact: Most doctors agree the two aren’t related.

• If I lower my blood pressure into the normal range, I can quit taking my meds. Fact: Continuing to take your medication is essential in keeping your blood pressure in check.

• My blood pressure’s close, so a few points don’t matter. Fact: Numbers count. An increase of 20 points in your systolic pressure (top number) or 10 points in diastolic pressure (bottom number) doubles your risk of heart attack or stroke.

• People don’t die from high blood pressure. Fact: Every two minutes, an American dies from a health complication related to high blood pressure.

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