Think high blood pressure only affects people over 50? Over 60? Think again. More young people and even children are suffering from high blood pressure that once mainly affected people decades older, said Rohit Barreto, M.D., Family Medicine, Massena Memorial Hospital Medical Group.
Barreto notes that the ease of access to junk food and living off a fast-food diet leads to the higher obesity, which can result in high blood pressure. People are at greater risk for sleep apnea, kidney problems, heart disease, thyroid disease and developing tumors when they suffer from high blood pressure. He points out there are several ways to see improvement with high blood pressure numbers. One is to simply get moving. “Our society needs more emphasis on being active and consuming a healthy diet,” Dr. Barreto said.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects roughly one out of three adults. Another quarter of the population has prehypertension. That’s when blood pressure levels are slightly above normal. For most adults, your blood pressure is normal if it’s less than 120/80. You have high blood pressure if the levels are 140/90 or higher.
Health changes, such as cutting back on salt and losing weight, can help to lower high blood pressure. Dr. Barreto encourages his patients to incorporate more cardiovascular activities into their routine to assist in losing weight and improving their overall health. Walking, running, biking, swimming and even yoga, are great exercises to get the heart pumping faster and stronger. He cautions people to make sure they participate in physical activities slowly and gradually build up to more rigorous workouts.
“People underestimate the benefits that healthy eating and exercise can have on your health,” Dr. Barreto said.
But if exercise is not enough, your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine. You may need a pill if:
• You are younger than age 60 and your blood pressure is 140/90.
• You are older than age 60 and your blood pressure is 150/90.
• You have kidney disease or diabetes and your blood pressure is 140/90.
So enjoy the great warm weather and take steps to get healthy. It’s never too late. For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Barreto, please call MMH Medical Group at 315-769-4704. The MMH Medical Group is located in the new Medical Office Building at 181 Maple Street, Massena, across from the hospital. The MMH Medical Group offers same day sick call appointments and welcomes new patients and families to their practice.