It may not be common knowledge that there is more of a connection between February and hearts than just Valentine’s Day. February is American Heart Month. To honor that, BC nursing students held a health awareness fair focusing on blood pressure. The nursing students working the fair were very enthusiastic about raising awareness, and were knowledgeable in their craft. “High blood pressure is something that so many people have and don’t know [that they have],” said Maddie, one of the nursing students working at the fair. “It’s something that can cause problems down the line, as far as other health issues.”
High blood pressure is by no means untreatable. Making simple life style changes, such as improving one’s diet and getting the right amount of exercise, are the most effective ways to combat unhealthy blood pressure. Checking blood pressure regularly is important. According to Allie, another nursing student at the fair, “If you know your base line, you can tell what your body’s doing. If [your blood pressure] is going up and it’s staying up, that is a good indicator to go to your doctor.” Some risk factors that can lead to high blood pressure includes obesity or inactivity, too much alcohol, and smoking.
A big risk factor common to students is stress. Stress can be difficult to avoid, especially for students who believe that their entire life depends on how well they do in college. On top of a high stress environment, many young students have not yet developed any strategies for dealing with stress. Maddie made the point that when it comes to stress, it is important to have something one can do to relax. According to her, it is important to have an outlet, “whether it is you love doing art projects, or going for a run or doing yoga and meditating.” High blood pressure makes the heart work harder to push blood through the arteries. Having high blood pressure for a long period of time is going to make the heart work harder than it should, which could lead to a stroke. Sue, also a nursing student who graduates in June, pointed out that an improved diet is truly important, and although it can be hard, especially for students, it is also an essential part of a healthy life style. “What you put into your body really matters. If you just eat junk food and fast food or energy drinks, it really does affect your body.”
It is important to be aware of one’s blood pressure for health purposes. Hopefully, if anyone’s heart is beating quickly, it’s only because because they’re asking out their Valentine. However, it still might be worth stopping by the local Safeway and getting their blood pressure checked at the pharmacy. In the long run, checking one’s blood pressure doesn’t take much time, and considering the risks involved with high blood pressure, it is definitely important to identify a problem early on, so that one’s lifestyle can be adjusted in order to live a happy, healthy life.