Hypertension ≠ High Tension

I have Heart - NIHhad several clients who have interpreted the medical condition hypertension as ‘high tension’. They thought this was a condition related to stress. And then, several thought the condition was only present when they were feeling stressed.

How much stress is there in your life right now? How much stress is there in the world? Some of us feel stressed much of the time. Others take a laid back approach to life and rarely feel stress.

Is it true that the stressed people have hypertension and the laid back people don’t?

NO

Hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) is a medical condition that goes way beyond stress or tension. It is a complex condition that is related to our genes (which we can’t control), our environment (some of which we can control), our behaviors (which we CAN control), and likely other factors that are still to be discovered.

Because it is such a complex condition with so many systems in the body involved, there are many medications that are used to treat it. Each category, or type, of medicaion treats hypertension in a different way. So, for some people, hypertension can be controlled with one medication. For other people, it could take two, three, four, or more medications, each acting on a different aspect of the condition.

How high is too high? The very general answer is a blood pressure over 140/90 is too high based on current guidelines. If someone has a history of heart disease or diabetes or some other conditions, your doctor might give you a lower goal such as less than 130/80.

How low is too low? Too low is not a strict number. Rather, it is more related to symptoms. If you feel dizzy when you stand or turn, have seen a marked decrease in your energy since starting your hypertension medicine, or are having trouble catching your breath, talk with your doctor.

Blood pressure that gets too high can be dangerous. It can lead to a myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke.

So what can you do about hypertension if you have it?

Check back next week for a ‘prescription’ for lowering and controlling your blood pressure.

For more information, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

Do you have stress in your life? Do you worry? Does your mind keep you awake at night thinking about all you need to do, or the things you are worried about?

I don’t know about you, but just watching the news can increase my stress level. It all seems so out of control.

It is at those times that we can be assured that God is in control. Ultimately, God wins. This universe, all of history, all current events, and the future belong to Him.

On Sunday our pastor mentioned that you could sum up the entire Bible in two words – GRACE and PEACE. Jesus came to provide access to both. His grace and peace are with us at all times; we just need to quiet ourselves, turn our hearts and minds to Him to experience it.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:34 ESV

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

1 Peter 5:7 NIV

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

John 14:27 NLT

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. God is in control.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image Source:  National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Stiff and Inflexible – Arterial Stenosis

atherosclerosis NIHSo why shouldn’t you eat all of the high fat foods that you want? They really do taste good. You know other people who eat those foods. So why shouldn’t you?

What can it hurt?

Your arteries are the part of your venous system that carry the clean, full-of-oxygen blood from your heart throughout your body. Your veins then carry the blood that has given up its oxygen to ‘feed’ your body and is now ready to go back to the heart to get a fresh supply.

In addition, your veins and arteries dilate (open up wider) or constrict (squeeze down tighter) based on the pressure needs in your body to keep the blood flowing. This ability to change how open they are is essential for blood pressure control, heart protection, kidney function, and more.

Arterial stenosis is a condition where those flexible, open tubes start to get thicker and less flexible. When this happens, they cannot respond to the body’s pressure needs as well. Specific areas where this thickening can be problematic is in the renal arteries (main arteries of the kidneys), carotid arteries (main arteries to the brain), and the aorta (main artery leaving the heart). This can cause quicker fatigue, decrease exercise tolerance, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

Those fatty foods can increase the cholesterol in your blood. That cholesterol can then ‘stick’ to the walls of your arteries making them even more thick and inflexible.

Too much cholesterol, too little exercise, smoking, diabetes, and being overweight can all increase risk of and worsen this condition.

So, making those good decisions about the food you eat, getting regular exercise, and not smoking can keep your blood flowing easily. This will keep your heart, your kidneys, your brain healthy and keep you living your dreams!

For more information, contact us at www.medsmash.com.  There you can find a short movie demonstration of a clean verses a stenotic artery.

Biblical Application

How often do we become too stiff and inflexible in our lives? Has God ever compelled you to do something, and you ignored or refused?

Have you ever had your feelings hurt and shunned the person who hurt you without trying to talk it through?

Do you know anyone who has stopped going to church or attending church functions because they don’t agree with some aspect of the service, or the people in leadership, or who sits where, or whatever reason?

Why do we get so caught up in small matters that we miss the BIG PICTURE of love and grace and eternity?

Like thickening of our arteries, sin, greed, jealousy, strife, self-interests can thicken our spiritual life-line causing us to be inflexible and obstinate.

God’s word mentions the stubbornness of us humans from the very first book.

Genesis 16:12 ESV

He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”

Psalm 81:11-12 ESV

“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.

Hosea 4:16 ESV

Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn; can the Lord now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture?

2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Job 36:11 NIV

If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.

The only way I will keep a pliable, obedient spirit in the larger decisions is to look to Him and to obey in the smaller ones.”  Catherine Marshall

Next time you’re feeling irritable and obstinate, take a minute to reconnect with the One who can keep your spiritual arteries clean and flowing. Let His love and acceptance flow unimpeded through you with prayer, time in the Bible, and fellowship with faithful people.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services