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High Blood Pressure and Stroke

High Blood Pressure and Stroke

Mahaska Health Partnership Cardiac Rehab Nurse Renee Edgar, RN, warns about the connection between high blood pressure leading to stroke.

“Studies have shown that high blood pressure levels can contribute to the risk for stroke,” Edgar said. “According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, 1,500 Iowans have a stroke each year. If we could reduce people’s blood pressure, the incidence of stroke would go down too.”

High blood pressure, which is classified by a reading higher than 120/80, usually has no warning signs or symptoms. However, some risk factors to consider include: age, being overweight, sodium intake and tobacco use. “Eating a healthy diet and being physically active can have a big impact on blood pressure,” Edgar stressed. “If you have some of these risk factors, make sure you are getting your blood pressure checked regularly.”

The American Heart Association said high blood pressure can lead to stroke because it can damage the arteries, causing them to burst or clog more easily. “A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts,” Edgar explained.

Symptoms of stroke include: sudden, one-sided numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden dizziness, trouble walking or loss of balance; sudden severe headache with no known cause. “If someone experiences these symptoms, prompt emergency attention is the best defense against long term damage,” Edgar stressed.

As the Cardiac Rehab nurse at MHP, Edgar assists many people during their recovery from heart attack or stroke. “I work very closely with patients to teach them about a healthy lifestyle and help them gradually work towards their quality of life goals through endurance training. I also partner very closely with MHP’s Registered Dietitian and our Diabetes Educator to help patients stay the course to long-term health,” Edgar explained.

Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, call 641-672-3240 or visit www.mahaskahealth.org.