What you don't know may hurt you. The integrated system of the heart and blood vessels is known as the cardiovascular system.

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1 The Inside Story on Blood Pressure What you don't know may hurt you. The integrated system of the heart and blood vessels is known as the cardiovascular system. Underwritten by Novartis 2005 ANATOMICAL TRAVELOGUE INC.

2 Why should I care? DID YOU KNOW? Blood pressure is NOT just a number. Your heart will beat about 100,000 times today Every heartbeat pumps blood through your body s blood vessels. This moves blood throughout your body, bringing a needed supply of oxygen and nutrients The sound of each heartbeat is really the noise your heart valves make as they close Even though you can t feel it, high blood pressure may cause damage to your arteries Do you know why your doctor checks your blood pressure? It is checked because it is one of the vital signs that indicates how well your body systems are working. By asking what your blood pressure reading is every time it is taken, you ll know what s up with your blood pressure and know if you need to make changes to manage it. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as it circulates and the force of the arteries as they resist the blood flow. High blood pressure is dangerous because it forces your heart to work harder than normal and causes damage to blood vessels. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems like heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage, vision problems, and stroke. That s why it s important to manage your high blood pressure. This guide will explain why you need to know your blood pressure numbers, and what you can do to get your high blood pressure to goal. Healthy Kidney The top half of the image shows the inside of the kidney. The bottom half shows the outside. Underwritten by Novartis 2005 ANATOMICAL TRAVELOGUE INC. KIDNEY DAMAGED BY HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE High blood pressure has damaged the kidney causing scar tissue to develop. 2 3

3 Why should I care? Take your blood pressure seriously. Blood pressure varies during the day, based on your activities and stress. If your blood pressure consistently stays above a certain level, you may be diagnosed with high blood pressure by your doctor. If your doctor tells you that you have high blood pressure, it s important to your health to follow your treatment plan. DID YOU KNOW? Most people with high blood pressure do not have any symptoms Feeling fine does not mean you do not have high blood pressure Healthy retina Many tiny blood vessels supply the retina. High blood pressure does not go away on its own. Many people need a combination of lifestyle changes and taking a prescription medicine to bring their blood pressure under control. By managing your blood pressure, you can limit the extra work your heart needs to do to move blood throughout your body. It may sound a little scary but instead of worrying, take action. damaged retina High blood pressure can damage your eyes. The red spots show blood that has leaked into the retina from blood vessels. Underwritten by Novartis 2005 ANATOMICAL TRAVELOGUE INC. 4 5

4 What does it mean? Cardiovascular made simple. The term cardiovascular system is not as complicated as it sounds. It is the medical term for your heart (cardio) and blood vessels (vascular). This system is made up of your heart and blood vessels, including arteries, veins, and capillaries. Its job is to transport oxygenand nutrient-rich blood from your heart to every part of your body and remove waste that your body does not need, such as carbon dioxide. the heart The heart works as a pump to move blood through the body. What s going on? Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in vessels called arteries. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as it circulates and the force of the arteries as they resist the blood flow. DID YOU KNOW? A half hour of moderate intensity activity 5 times a week such as jogging, dancing, and team sports can have health benefits* * Always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Underwritten by Novartis 2005 ANATOMICAL TRAVELOGUE INC. 6 7

5 What does it mean? Blood pressure is made up of 2 important numbers. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmhg), a special unit that measures pressure. It is recorded as 2 numbers usually written 1 above the other. The top number is the systolic blood pressure. It is the highest pressure measured in the arteries, when the heart beats. A reading of less than 120 mmhg is considered normal for most adults The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure. It measures the pressure in the blood vessels between heart beats when the heart rests. A reading of less than 80 mmhg is considered normal for most adults Know your numbers. Normal blood pressure for most adults is where the upper (systolic) number is less than 120 mmhg and the lower (diastolic) number is less than 80 mmhg. This is written as less than 120/80 mmhg. High blood pressure is where the systolic is consistently 140 mmhg or higher, OR the diastolic is consistently 90 mmhg or higher. This is written as greater than or equal to 140/90 mmhg. Depending on the health conditions you have, your doctor may tell you that you have high blood pressure when your numbers are less than 140/90 mmhg. Ask your doctor what numbers are best for you. The harder it is for your blood to flow through the blood vessels, the higher these numbers will be. Don t delay. Start getting your high blood pressure to goal today. 8 9

6 What does it mean? What can I do? What you don t feel can hurt you. It may seem hard to pay attention to something that is not bothering you, not causing you pain, or that you do not feel at all. It is important to know that not treating your high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney damage, or visual problems. Get to your blood pressure goal. Getting your blood pressure to goal is important to your health. Ask your doctor what specific goal is right for you. If you are not at goal, ask if it is time to change your medication and lifestyle habits. Healthy heart The ventricles are powerful chambers that pump blood from the heart to the body. enlarged heart Due to high blood pressure, this ventricle wall is thicker and less flexible. Underwritten by Novartis Having high blood pressure is a signal for you and your doctor to take action to lower your blood pressure to a goal that is right for you ANATOMICAL TRAVELOGUE INC

7 What can I do? You can manage high blood pressure. You can help get your blood pressure under control by taking your medication as directed, paying attention to your numbers, and starting to make some of these lifestyle changes. If you drink alcohol, limit how much alcohol you drink to 1-2 drinks a day Reduce salt in your diet too much sodium can cause the body to retain fluid, which can increase your blood pressure* Eat a low-fat, balanced diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains* Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week* * Always talk to your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. Talk to your doctor today and get to your blood pressure goal. It s all up to you. Take steps to control your blood pressure. Take your medication as directed. It may take a little time for your doctor to find what combination of medication, along with lifestyle changes, can get you to goal. Give the medicine the best chance to work for you by taking it as prescribed. Take medication at a regularly scheduled time each day as directed by your doctor. Keep them in a visible spot to remind you to take them, but out of reach of children Make sure you know the name of each medicine, what it does, how often to take it, and the best time of day to take it Ask your doctor if there are any side effects that you might feel from the medication and what you should do if you experience any Ask for easy-to-open bottles if there are no small children in your household and you have difficulty opening child-proof bottles Don't give up! Once you reach your goal you will still need to take your medicine as directed to manage your high blood pressure 12 13

8 What can I do? What should I ask? Straight talk on medication. Even with lifestyle changes and exercise, this may not be good enough to get your blood pressure to goal. In fact, most people need 2 or more medications to reach their blood pressure goals. There are several types of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. Your doctor may have you try one or a combination of blood pressure medicines to help get you to goal. And once you reach your goal, you will still need to take medication as directed by your doctor to manage your high blood pressure. Ask your doctor if medication is right for you. Speak up. Here are some ways to improve your medical communication skills. Ask your doctor to clearly explain about your high blood pressure. If the explanation doesn't make sense, ask him or her to clarify; maybe citing an example or drawing a picture will help. Request clear details about the treatment your doctor recommends. Ask for simple explanations for each test, medication, or procedure your doctor suggests. If you don t agree with the treatment plan your doctor is recommending, explain why. For example, you may not feel you can make the changes or afford the medications. Your doctor can discuss options with you, so say what s on your mind. Don t forget: Ask what your blood pressure numbers are every time you have your blood pressure checked. If you are not at goal, ask your doctor if it is time to change your medication and lifestyle habits

9 What should I ask? Keeping track. Don t forget: Ask your doctor or pharmacist about any medicine prescribed for you. Make sure you know the name of the medicine, why it is right for you, what it does, how often to take it, and how to take it Ask about side effects you might experience and when you should notify your doctor Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including medicines you buy without a prescription, such as herbal medicines or vitamins Keep a record of what happened at your doctor visit by writing down the answers to these questions. 1. What are my current blood pressure numbers? If you need help with a step-by-step plan to lose weight or increase your activity, ask for it. There are many low-cost local programs and resources you can try. If you find you forget the instructions your doctor gave you about taking your medication or making lifestyle changes, ask him or her to write them down. Ask for patient education materials. If you are having side effects, call your doctor. DO NOT wait for your next visit or just stop taking the medication. If you want to learn more about your health, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse for more information. Please tear off and keep for your records. 2. What is my blood pressure goal? 3. What are the names of my blood pressure medications and how do I take them? 16 17

10 Glossary: 4. If I m not at my blood pressure goal, would changing my dosage, changing medications, or adding a new medication help? 5. What lifestyle changes do I need to make to get to goal and stay there? 6. Do I need to lose weight? If so, what would be a reasonable weight goal? 7. What kind of physical activity do you recommend for me? 8. Should I use a blood pressure monitor at home? How often should I check my blood pressure? 9. When should I schedule a follow-up visit? Please tear off and keep for your records. Artery A blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the cells, tissues, and organs of the body. Blood Pressure Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as it circulates and the force of the arteries as they resist the blood flow. Blood Vessels Arteries, veins, and capillaries that carry blood throughout the body. Cardiovascular System The medical term for the heart and blood vessels that circulate blood through the body. Diastolic The pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes between heart beats. This is the bottom number of a blood pressure reading. High Blood Pressure A blood pressure reading where the upper or systolic number is consistently 140 or higher, or the lower or diastolic number is consistently 90 or higher, or as your doctor tells you. Hypertension The medical term for high blood pressure. Retina The area at the back of the eye that detects light. Systolic The highest pressure measured in the arteries when the heart contracts with each beat. This is the top number of a blood pressure reading. 18 CUS

11 The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is partnering with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a leader in the development of high blood pressure products, to help members of their communities understand the risks of high blood pressure and how to best manage it. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation East Hanover, New Jersey Novartis Printed in USA 10/08 CUS Printed on Recycled Paper

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