Monday, February 22, 2016

What is High Blood Pressure?

Hypertension is so common that almost everybody is affected at some point.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, means the pressure in your arteries is higher than it should be.

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure remains consistently high, it can cause many complications in the body. Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and more.

What Is Considered High Blood Pressure?

If your doctor consistently reads your blood pressure as 140/90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) or higher, you will most likely be diagnosed with high blood pressure.

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Prevalence Hypertension is a very common condition, in both developing countries and industrialized nations. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, more than 76 million Americans over age 20 — or 1 in 3 adults — have high blood pressure.

Risk Factors

The following can increase your chances for developing high blood pressure:
Older age: The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age.
High blood pressure is more common in men who are 45 years of age and older, while women are more likely to develop the condition after age 65.
Race: High blood pressure is more common in African-American adults than in Caucasian or Hispanic-American adults.
African-Americans tend to develop hypertension earlier in life and often experience more severe cases that lead to serious complications, such as stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.
Family history: Having a family history of high blood pressure can also increase your risk, as the condition tends to run in families.
Being overweight: The more you weigh, the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues.
As the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls. Obesity, especially abdominal obesity — also increases stiffness in arteries, which increases blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Being inactive is often linked to factors that can increase your heart rate, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
And the higher your heart rate is, the harder your heart has to work.
Tobacco use: When you smoke or chew tobacco, your blood pressure rises temporarily.
Moreover, chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls, which can cause your arteries to narrow, increasing your blood pressure.
Being exposed to secondhand smoke also can increase your blood pressure.
Dietary choices: What you choose to eat (and not to eat) can increase your risk for hypertension, including the following:
  • Too much salt (sodium) can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
  • Since potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells, not getting enough potassium can lead to too much sodium in your blood.
  • While studies are limited, vitamin D may affect an enzyme produced by your kidneys that affects your blood pressure, so having too little could be harmful.
Alcohol consumption: Drinking more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may affect your blood pressure.
Stress: Being under intense stress can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure.
Moreover, if you try to cope with stress by overeating, using tobacco, or drinking alcohol, all these can contribute to your high blood pressure.
Chronic conditions: Having kidney disease, sleep apnea, or diabetes can affect blood pressure.
Pregnancy: Being pregnant can cause an increase in blood pressure.
Birth control: Women who take birth control pills are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

Children and High Blood Pressure

While most common in adults, hypertension is becoming more common in children and teens. Kidney or heart problems can cause high blood pressure in kids, but so can lifestyle habits, such as poor diet, obesity, and not exercising. Children who are African-American and Mexican-American are more likely to have high blood pressure than Caucasian children.
Moreover, boys are at higher risk than girls.


If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to the following:

By Cathy Cassata,  Medically Reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dealing With a Friend's Death

Today we got a phone call that we never want to get. The mother of a young lady who works for At Home Care called to say that her daughter died the night before. What?!?!?!? A million thoughts came to mind. How could this happen? She was bright and vibrant, young and living her life. We were all shocked to say the least. We have clients that pass away. Not that it's okay. But we (staff and family) understand that although it is not desired, it is expected given the condition of their health.

This phone call totally caught us by surprise and it is the first time that we have faced this in our company's short life. Each of the staff members began to recall personal moments that we experienced with her. Ironically, several of us talked with her the same day she died. One staff member saw her and that staff member wasn't even at work. They just ran into each other at the store.

She was a great asset to At Home Care and we will miss her. Now we have to go on with life. But how? Below is an article from WikiHow that gives some good tips on how to deal with the death of a friend.

-Rest in Peace Antwanette.

How to Deal With a Friend's Death's-Death
Losing a friend is never going to be easy. Keeping your own sense of calm and maintaining your friend's memory are important elements of the grieving process. Accept that this is going to be a very hard time in your life but be reassured by the reality that you will get through this and that the best way to honor your friend is to retain his or her memory always alive in your heart.

  1. Think of the good times. Recall fond memories of things you've shared together and remember those. Do not play over the tragedy that took his or her life.
  2. Write poetry, listen to music you like, spend some time alone to reflect. Make it a point to replay the funny or even goofy moments you both shared. Doing things that remind you of your friend will help you attach positive feelings to thoughts of your friend, even if you cry the entire time you're doing it at first.
  3. Accept help that others might give you. Lean on family and friends.
  4. Write a eulogy for your friend and read it at the funeral. Visit the grave. Lean on faith. If you believe in God, then pray for your friend, and for yourself and his or her other friends and family.
  5. Allow yourself to feel sad. Don't let anyone tell you how long you should feel sad, or how sad you should feel. The loss of a friend affects different people in different ways, but it is painful no matter what. Do remember that it is pain that must simply be endured, like a broken arm - there are things you can do to alleviate it for a little while, but it will eventually hurt again until it fully heals. Believe it or not, as painful as this loss is, it will fully heal in time.
  6. Talk to your friend. This might sound weird, but it'll help. Tell your friend how you feel, that you miss him or her; talk over things that are happening in your life, and how different things are since your friend can't be with you. Tell your friend that you take him or her with you wherever you go, that he or she is always in your heart. Go for grief counseling or pick up some books on grief and how to handle the pain you feel.
  7. Get enough sleep - or at least rest. Often, soon after the death of a loved one, we are plagued by bad dreams, or sad ones, and sleep seems scary and impossible. Lie down in a darkened room, and if you find it hard to sleep, at least put on some soothing music, or let the TV play softly in the background. The music or words from the television can help direct your dream state a little, keeping you from re-cycling your grief through your dreams. Do know, though, that our subconscious mind processes situations and helps us deal with things, so don't avoid your dreams, though some may make you wake up sad.
  8. Resume your place in the world. Once you feel better, go out with your friends and do things you like to take your mind off the pain. Distracting your thoughts for a while will not make you forget your friend forever. Dwelling on your own pain doesn't honor your friend's memory - having a big, bold life, and remembering your friend with love and affection as you do is what your friend would want you to do.
  9. Make a scrapbook of your friend's life. Include photos of him or her from when he or she was young through to older age. Include fond memories in this scrapbook - write captions or remembered stories next to the pictures. Look at it when you are feeling down, and share it with other friends.
  10. Do something cool in your friend's honor. If your friend liked to ride his or her bike, find out when the next MS ride is, and ride in your friend's honor. Or if he or she battled cancer, check with the Cancer Society and do a Walk For the Cure or something similar. Donate any funds you raise in your friend's name. This gives great honor to your friend's memory, and does something positive in the world at the same time.