Silent but Serious

K5 BloodspressureKITHigh blood pressure typically doesn’t pose an immediate threat. It is the damage caused over time that is the real problem.

If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause all kinds of issues and lead to life-threatening conditions. Here’s the real story of what this Silent Killer is doing:

  • The growing pressure damages the lining of the arteries in your brain, making it easier for blood clots to form or rupture, causing stroke.
  • Your arteries get thicker and harder (known as “atherosclerosis.”) This can lead to heart attack or stroke.
  • Your blood vessels weaken and bulge. (The bulge is known as an “aneurysm.”) If this ruptures, it can kill you.
  • Your heart muscle gets thicker. It has a harder time pumping enough blood. This leads to heart failure.
  • The blood vessels in your kidneys get weaker and narrower. Your kidneys don’t work right, and wastes build up in your body.
  • The blood vessels in your eyes are damaged. Thickened, narrowed, or torn blood vessels destroy your vision.
  • The flow of blood to your brain is reduced. You have a harder time remembering, learning, and understanding things.

If you have high blood pressure, be sure to check out the Kick the Killer 5 Toolkit Control High Blood Pressure today. And work with your health coach to get it under control — before it’s too late.

Ask a Health Coach

arteryQ: How did I get high blood pressure?

A: More than 9 out of 10 cases of high blood pressure are called “essential hypertension.” What this means is simply that there is no specific cause. We do know that diet and lifestyle have an impact. Salt sensitivity is a big contributor. People in northern Japan eat more salt than any other people — and they have the highest rates of high blood pressure.

We also see more high blood pressure in people who are overweight, have diabetes, are under stress, drink heavily, and never exercise. (more…)

Young or Old — It’s up to You!

iStock_000004985521MediumMany of our coworkers are turning back the clock! Their HealthCheck shows their heart is younger and stronger than it was a year ago.

Young …

  • Normal body weight — That’s what your heart is designed for.
  • Blood sugar levels below 100 mg/dL—You’re efficiently getting energy to your cells, without extra blood sugar damaging your heart and arteries.
  • Blood pressure below 120/80 — Everything is flowing smoothly. (more…)

Butt out

Cigarette butts. Stop smoking concept.Every year, on the Thursday before Thanksgiving, the Great American Smokeout asks smokers to go 24 hours smoke free.

If you’re a smoker, see if you can give it up for one day.

A non-smoker? Adopt a smoker and give him or her a hand. And if your smoker decides to continue more than a day, become a best buddy, supporter, and cheerleader in the effort.

The Science of Gratitude

Family Walking Dog Through Winter WoodlandWe all know that stress can make us sick … but, did you know that gratitude relieves stress, boosts the immune system, and makes us healthier?

You may also be surprised to know that the people who feel the most grateful are not those with the most money and stuff. They are simply people who take the time to reflect on the everyday benefits of being alive. Gratitude can be cultivated. Give it a try. At the end of the day, ask yourself what you did that you enjoyed, what you were glad happened or didn’t happen, what you saw that made you smile. It could be that something this simple might just boost your health.

In a University of California study, reported in Robert Emmon’s book “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” people were asked to keep journals. Group 1 was assigned to regularly record five things they were grateful for. Group 2 described five hassles. Group 3 wrote about five events that affected them.

At the end of the study, Group 1 reported greater life satisfaction, more optimism about the future, and fewer health problems. All from gratitude.