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My friend Was as Healthy as Horse and Died Suddenly

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We hear this so often. A person without any known illnesses, most of the time fairly young and the picture of health, dies suddenly without warning. The usual culprit is coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD occurs when high blood pressure goes unchecked. The constant force of the blood pressure damages the blood vessels and the body repairs them. Imagine plastering cracks in walls. Now imagine plastering cracks in walls everyday for ten years…those walls are going to get pretty yucky. The thing is the walls are in open rooms whereas the blood vessels are narrow and eventually those repairs or plaques form a build up that can cause blockages. That plaque build up is coronary artery disease (CAD) in a nutshell and one of the things that leads to sudden cardiac death (SCD). Another cause is congenital heart defects which we won’t discuss in this article.

But I Don’t Feel Sick

Most people with high blood pressure feel fine. High blood pressure is called the silent killer for a reason. It will do its damage for years without the slightest warning outside of an elevated reading which goes undetected without regular monitoring. High blood pressure causes damage to every area with blood vessels so think of the highly vascular areas of your body: heart (SCD/heart attack), brain (stroke), kidneys (kidney disease/failure), eyes (glaucoma). Your body will do its job and try to hold it together until it can’t. This is why you hear people say I was fine last year and now I am on all this medication.

What Can I Do to Prevent This from Happening to Me?

No one has SCD out of nowhere, the risk factors have been there they have just not been treated. People say they don’t have high blood pressure, but they haven’t been to the doctor in ages. Make an appointment and know your status for sure. If you have ever had high blood pressure or have a family history of high blood pressure, make sure you have regular check ups because things can change and sometimes suddenly. If you smoke, you should quit or get help with planning to quit if you find it too difficult to do so alone. Start reading labels and minimize your salt (sodium) intake. Try not to take in more than 2,000 mg or two grams a day. Choose low sodium options. Eventually your taste for salt will change and things will seem salty to you. (The same concept applies to sugar.) Try to exercise at least 30 minutes five times a week. This can be just some brisk walking. You want to focus on increasing your heart rate, so you don’t need to turn into a gym rat or a bunch of equipment. (Always talk to your health care provider before beginning a new exercise routine.) Make sure you are getting enough sleep. The lack of sleep contributes to increased blood pressure. Try to reduce stress in your life. Some things you have control over and some you do not.

I Find it Difficult to See a Health Care Provider 

There are several reasons why people do not seek regular health care. One reason is time which can be due to work schedules or family obligations. Another reason is new patients are not being accepted in their area or an absence of providers. Still another reason is cost or lack of insurance. And finally, one of the biggest reasons and easiest things to fix is not finding a provider that is a good fit. Patients want to feel they are being heard and receiving individualized care. At Evolve Wellness we strive to provide affordable and accessible care that is patient centered. We strive to make sure patients are not going without care for long periods to decrease preventable illnesses. If you live in or are traveling to one of our service areas, please make an appointment or share with someone who may benefit from our convenient care. We want to help you make changes today that will improve your health outcomes tomorrow.