Parish Health Ministry

Vision:    Through the Parish Health Care Ministry, the health and lifestyle of the parishioners will  be enhanced.

Mission:   The Mission of the Parish Health Ministry is to foster and promote healthy lives by improving health knowledge, good decision making, awareness, and involvement through information, cooperation and collaboration that we may “Courageously live the Gospel in Good Health”

What do we do:  The Parish Health Ministry is a resource of health information for Parishioners

Membership: Open to all.

Meetings: 4th Tuesday each month at 6:30 PM

Point of Contact:

Dave Kotun, Email Dave

Blood pressure considerations:

Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls. The force is generated with each heartbeat as blood is pumped from the heart into the blood vessels. The size and elasticity of the artery walls also affect blood pressure. Each time the heart beats (contracts and relaxes), pressure is created inside the arteries. The pressure is greatest when blood is pumped out of the heart into the arteries. When the heart relaxes between beats (blood isn’t moving out of the heart), the pressure falls in the arteries. 

Two numbers are recorded when measuring blood pressure: 

■ The top number, or systolic pressure, refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart contracts and pumps blood through the body. 

■ The bottom number, or diastolic pressure, refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart is at rest and is filling with blood. 

High blood pressure, or hypertension, directly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. With high blood pressure, the arteries may have an increased resistance against the flow of blood, causing the heart to pump harder to circulate the blood. Usually high blood pressure has no signs or symptoms. However, you can know if your blood pressure is high by having it checked regularly. If you have high blood pressure, contact your primary care provider immediately. If you don’t have one, you can call 1-800-BayCare (1-800-229-2273) for a physician referral. High Blood Pressure/Hypertension 

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has determined two levels of high blood pressure for adults: 

■ Stage 1: Systolic pressure (higher number) of 140–159 and diastolic pressure (lower number) of 90–99                 

■ Stage 2: Systolic pressure of 160 or higher and diastolic pressure of 100 or higher The NHLBI defines prehypertension as systolic pressure of 120 to 139 and diastolic pressure of 80 to 89. 

The NHLBI guidelines define normal blood pressure as systolic pressure of less than 120 and diastolic pressure of 80. These numbers should be used as a guide only. 

A single elevated blood pressure measurement isn’t necessarily an indication of a problem. Your health care professional will want to see multiple blood pressure measurements over several days or weeks before making a diagnosis of high blood pressure. If you normally run a lower-than-usual blood pressure, you may be diagnosed with high blood pressure with blood pressure measurements lower than 140/90. 

Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure 

Nearly one-third of all Americans have high blood pressure, but it’s particularly prevalent in: 

■ People who have diabetes, gout or kidney disease 

■ African Americans (particularly those who live in the Southeastern United States) 

■ People in their early to middle adult years; men in this age group have higher blood pressure more often than women in this age group 

■ People in their middle to later adult years; women in this age group have higher blood pressure more often than men in this age group (more women have high blood pressure after menopause than men of the same age) 

■ Middle-aged and elderly people; more than half of all Americans age 60 and older have high blood pressure 

■ People with a family history of high blood pressure 

■ People who are obese 

■ Heavy drinkers of alcohol 

■ Women who are taking oral contraceptives 

The following conditions contribute to high blood pressure: 

■ Being overweight 

■ Excessive salt (sodium) intake 

■ A lack of exercise and physical activity 

High blood pressure can be controlled by: 

■ Taking prescribed medications exactly as ordered by your doctor 

■ Choosing foods that are low in salt 

■ Choosing foods low in calories and fat 

■ Choosing foods high in fiber and increasing fruits and vegetables in your diet 

■ Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if overweight 

■ Limiting serving sizes 

■ Increasing physical activity 

■ Reducing or omitting alcoholic beverages

Please let us check your blood pressure for free at the next Country Breakfast. Your friends at the Health Ministry.

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