Pressure. We all feel it. The pressure to run our lives, to look after our families, to take care of ourselves... (Note which point came in last by the way?)
I feel pressure every day. It's not usually a problem, but when my blood pressure starts to rise, it becomes a problem; a dangerous one if not managed properly.
A few months ago I took part in an online campaign to spread the word about the Heart & Stroke Foundation's My Risk Assessment tool. I wrote about my personal connection here.
This month the Heart & Stroke Foundation is encouraging people to take advantage of their My Blood Pressure Action Plan (BPAP). At first I thought Erica asked me to participate because of my vast social media influence (ha!) or my poignant writing style (double ha!). Then I realized she may have included me out of concern -- that my head might actually blow off my shoulders at any given moment.
Erica is privy to some of the stress my family and I have been experiencing. And as we know, stress (along with high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol) is a major risk factor relating to stroke. So did I want to participate in this potentially life saving program? You bet your sweet BP I did!
My doctor has been monitoring my blood pressure over the past year; with frequent check-ups and a few rounds of the 24-hour BP monitor. Sleeping with something squeezing your arm every hour? Not fun. Telling the lady giving you weird looks as you 'beep' in line at the Dollar store that you're bionic? Really fun.
Anyway, my results were interesting. During sleep, my BP is very low. Like, hibernating bear low. During the day, I have several high spikes. Quite high (read: I don't handle stress well at all and if I don't learn to freaking deal, hot lava will soon shoot out of my ears).
High blood pressure or hypertension is the number one cause of stroke. And, stroke and heart disease are the leading cause of death for women in Canada. A healthy lifestyle, diet and monitoring one's blood pressure are ways to help prevent a stroke. I downloaded the Heart & Stroke Health app for my iphone to keep track of the BP readings I take at the drugstore. The app also includes a "Recipe Helper" with lots of heart healthy recipes to choose from.
No pressure (pun intended) but this program is worth taking a look at -- for you or for someone you love. Here's the link to the FREE Blood Pressure Action Plan and Heart & Stroke Health app.