Fire EMS, Firefighting, Volunteer Fire Service

What’s Your Blood Pressure?

Issue 11 and Volume 168.

BY DEBORAH FEAIRHELLER Hypertension is a global health problem. Defined as a resting blood pressure higher than 120/80 mmHg, recent statistics estimate that close to 80 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure. Treatment costs are close to $50 billion, and even with that, blood pressure awareness and control remain problems.1 Many people don’t even know they have hypertension, and many others cannot control their blood pressure despite daily medication. Surprisingly, the majority of the population does not even know what blood pressure is, what increases it, what causes it to change, or how much it can fluctuate throughout the day. High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and stroke.2,3 Blood pressure increases with age and with body weight. Blood pressure is the product of vascular resistance (compliance of the blood vessels) and cardiac output. Blood vessels are made of muscle and, much…

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