There are numbers that can save your life. What are these numbers and how can they save your life? Read on to find out!
It is estimated that 1 out of every 3 Americans has high blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension.
WHAT IS BLOOD PRESSURE?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. The heart pumps blood into the arteries, which carry blood throughout the body.
WHAT IS NORMAL/HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
There are two measures of blood pressure. The top number (bigger number) is called systolic pressure and it measures pressure when the heart contracts. The bottom number (smaller number) is called diastolic pressure and measures the pressure when the heart rests between beats.
Categories of blood pressure are as follows:
Normal Blood Pressure = less then 120/80
Pre-Hypertension = 120-139/80-89
Stage 1 Hypertension = 140-159/90-99
Stage 2 Hypertension = 160+/100+
WHY IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE BAD?
High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart worker harder to pump blood to the body. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing numerous detrimental health situations such as heart disease, a stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney disease. The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk for health problems.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
Unfortunately, this “silent killer”usually has no warning signs or symptoms until serious problems occur. This is why regular blood pressure monitoring is encouraged for everyone no matter your age, weight, level of fitness, etc. The good news, is that high blood pressure is easily detectable with many different types of blood pressure monitoring devices that can even be purchased at your local pharmacy.
TIPS FOR CONTROLLING YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE:
- Obtain/Maintain a health weight
- Exercise Regularly- at least 30-60 minutes per day
- Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
- Limit sodium intake- no more than 2,300 mg/day
- Drink alcohol in moderation- no more than about 1 drink/day for females and 2 drinks/day for males
- Avoid tobacco products and secondhand smoke
- Limit caffeine consumption
- Reduce your stress
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly- start now with the MBS program free screenings!!
According to the CDC over half of Americans are overweight and over one third of Americans are obese!
WHAT IS BODY FAT?
Fat is one of the basic components that make up the structure of your body. The other components include muscle, water, bone and your organs. All of which are necessary for normal, healthy functioning.
Body fat can be divided into two categories: Essential fat and storage fat. As its name implies, essential fat is necessary for normal, healthy functioning. It is stored in small amounts in your bone marrow, organs, central nervous system and muscles. In men, essential fat is approximately 3% of body weight while it is about 12% in women. This is because essential fat in women also includes some sex-specific fat that is believed to be critical for normal reproductive function.
Storage fat is the other type of body fat. This is the fat you accumulate beneath your skin, in certain specific areas inside your body, and in your muscles. It also includes the deep fat that protects your internal organs from injury and helps to keep you warm. Men and women have similar amounts of storage fat.
WHAT IS NORMAL BODY FAT?
WHY IS TOO MUCH/LITTLE BODY FAT BAD?
When your body fat percent is above the acceptable range, your risk for developing heart disease, high blood pressure, gallstones, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and certain cancers increases. Where your excess fat is located is also important to consider. Recent studies have shown that if you carry your extra fat around your waist (“apple” shape), you are at a higher risk for developing the diseases mentioned above than if you carry the same amount of extra fat around your thighs and buttocks (“pear” shape).
When your body fat percent it too low, your health may also be compromised because normal, healthy functioning requires some fat. Men may become more susceptible to illness or experience chronic fatigue. Women on the other hand may not menstruate regularly and therefore experience infertility. Their menstrual irregularities may also compromise the health of their bones, as normal hormonal function is necessary for bone health.
HOW DO I DETERMINE IF I HAVE TOO MUCH/LITTLE BODY FAT?
There are several ways you can determine your amount of body fat. While the most accurate measures of body fat are done with underwater weighing or a DEXA scan, some of the more common and more easily accessible methods are as follows:
- Skinfold Calipers- small clamp-like devices that determine the amount of fat you have lying just below the skin by taking skinfold measurements at various locations on your body such as the back of your arm and your waistline. Health professionals use these skinfold measurements in equations that estimate percent body fat.
- Bioelectrical impedance works by measuring the speed of an electrical current as it travels through your body. It is less subject to human error than calipers, but its accuracy depends on a number of factors, including hydration, the fullness of the stomach, and how recently a person has exercised.
The good news is there are many ways you can control or make changes to your body fat percentage. Maintaining a healthy amount of body fat or losing excessive body fat is one of the best ways to take control of your health!
TIPS FOR CONTROLLING YOUR BODY FAT?
- Attend regular check-ups
- Work with your doctor to decide your ideal weight. Work to keep it there or meet your goal.
- Eat smaller portions
- Eat less food in each sitting. Try using a smaller plate or bowl – you’ll eat less
- Slow down when you eat. Talk to others and take time to taste the food. You’ll be fuller faster.
- Increase your activity level
- When walking, pick up the pace from relaxed to brisk to get your heart rate up.
- Take time to play with children and pets. Combine quality time with activity.
- Eat more fruits & vegetables
- Plan your meals before shopping to buy at least one fruit and vegetable for each meal.
- Pack fruits and vegetables in your lunch. Have quick snacks ready, like diced fruit.
- Limit saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet
- Substitute applesauce for oil, butter, margarine, or lard in baking recipes.
- Trim all visible fat from meals and use ground turkey in place or ground beef.
Every day your heart beats nearly 100,000 times. This is about 37 million beats per year and 3 billion in an average lifetime!
WHAT IS HEART RATE, RESTING HEART RATE, MAXIMUM HEART RATE, TARGET HEART RATE?
Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Your resting heart rate is the measure of how many times your heart beats per minute at rest. Your maximum heart rate is calculated at 220-your age and is considered the maximum rate your heart can handle before causing damage to it. Target Heart Rate is generally a range of about 50%-85% of your maximum heart rate used to determine the intensity of your training.
WHAT IS A NORMAL RESTING HEART RATE?
- 0 – 1 month old: 70 – 190 beats per minute
- 1 – 11 months old: 80 – 160 beats per minute
- 1 – 2 years old: 80 – 130 beats per minute
- 3 – 4 years old: 80 – 120 beats per minute
- 5 – 6 years old: 75 – 115 beats per minute
- 7 – 9 years old: 70 – 110 beats per minute
- 10 years & up: 60 – 100 beats per minute
- Athletes: 40 – 60 beats per minute
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW YOUR HEART RATE NUMBERS?
Measuring your heart rate gives important information about your health. Any change from your normal heart rate can indicate a medical condition. Fast pulse may signal an infection or dehydration. In emergency situations, the heart rate can help determine if the patient’s heart is pumping at all. Pulse measurement has other uses as well. During or immediately after exercise, the pulse rate gives information about your fitness level and health.
HOW DO I DETERMINE WHAT MY HEART RATE IS?
The pulse can be measured at the:
- Back of the knees
- Top or inner side of the foot
In these areas, an artery passes close to the skin.
To measure the pulse at the wrist, place the index and middle finger over the underside of the opposite wrist, below the base of the thumb. Press with flat fingers until you feel the pulse.
To measure the pulse on the neck, place the index and middle fingers just to the side of the Adam’s apple, in the soft, hollow area. Press gently until you locate the pulse. Note: Sit or lie down before taking the neck pulse. The neck arteries in some people are sensitive to pressure. Fainting or slowing of the heartbeat can result. Also, do not take the pulses on both sides of the neck at the same time. Doing so can slow the flow of blood to the head and lead to fainting.
Once you find the pulse, count the beats for 1 full minute. Or count the beats for 30 seconds and multiply by 2. This will give the beats per minute.
HOW DO I DETERMINE MY TARGET HEART RATE?
As you exercise, periodically:
- Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
- Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) to press lightly over the blood vessels on your wrist.
Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to find your beats per minute. You want to stay between 50 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This range is your target heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. The figures are averages, so use them as general guidelines.