Health and Fitness – Keep Your Blood Flowing Freely

The heart beats faster! The blood vessels constrict! The heart, lungs, and brain ache for more help, but it isn’t coming fast enough. There is a shudder and then complete blackness.

This Edgar Allan Poe moment of chimerical horror describes a massive stroke for someone who suffered one day too many from hypertension. Gather round the campfire, and I’ll explain this medical condition, its causes, and preventive measures to avoid it.

Hypertension is high blood pressure, and one out of five people in our country is experiencing it. The blood vessels constrict, and the heart has to pump harder to get that blood delivered around the body. The heart begins to weaken from overload, and the constricted vessels become compromised over time.

Blood pressure changes all the time. It won’t kill you to have high blood pressure once in a while. Swerving to avoid the reckless driver on the freeway, climbing five flights of stairs quickly, or being startled by the ghastliness of that first- and last-time drag queen all can contribute to a spike in blood pressure. Consistently visiting this elevated zone is very much a problem. Many people won’t feel any symptoms from this disease for 10 to 20 years, and then it can strike like a thief in the night.

There isn’t a specific cause of hypertension but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lack of culprits calling in and claiming responsibility for this physiological terrorism. Heredity, the cards we are dealt at birth, is a frequent contributor to this ugliness. Children of hypertensive parents are bequeathed a two times greater likelihood of having this disease than the kids of parents without hypertension. That really sucks, and all you did was be born to the world!

Don’t grab the bottle and give up just yet if you inherited these lousy hand-me-downs from Mom and Pop. You can counteract the ill effects of high blood pressure in plenty of other ways. Some of the other causes of this nasty medical condition, such as obesity, stress, smoking, and improper diet, are all under your control.

Obese individuals are about twice as likely to be hypertensive as men and women who are not obese. So that means if you exercise and stay lean than you decrease your risk. That sounds like something you can control!

Stress can walk you down the aisle and give you away to high blood pressure, too. Stop getting angry at all the little problems in the world! A late bill, rush-hour traffic, the mother-in-law visit, and the ripped underwear at 6 a.m. aren’t worth your emotional intensity. Relax and take a deep breath when these moments occur. That sounds like something you can control!

Smoking constricts your blood vessels and raises your blood pressure every time. Cigarettes aren’t cheap, and smoking-cessation programs all over the place are ready to help you quit. That sounds like something you can control!

Foods with excessive sodium, saturated fat, or cholesterol are all significant donors to the election campaign for hypertension. This candidate can’t win without your donations. That sounds like something you can control!

Drugs can also be prescribed to aid in your efforts against this evil force.

Don’t be scared by this villain of your vessels! With adherence to these suggestions you may live a healthy life and worry about hypertension (quoth the raven) nevermore!
This purloined letter was brought to you by that guy who tore up the planks in the house of Usher. That guy is Ron Blake, a 15-year personal-fitness trainer, and he can be found descending into the maelstrom at

Ron Blake

Ron Blake, a personal fitness trainer in Phoenix, has been training individuals and groups for 15 years. He has also coached high school cross-country and track teams in Indiana and California. He was born in Gary, Ind., and Indiana University awarded him bachelor and master's degrees (as long as he agreed to quietly leave the state!) Visit his website, for more information.

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