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World Hypertension Day: everything you need to know

Published by: LifeWorks,

“I didn’t even know I had the disease, despite having many of the risk factors,” Rolanda Perkins shared in a Healthy Women article.

Unfortunately, many men and women have the same story leading up to a heart attack caused by hypertension. The disease has rightfully been coined “the silent killer” as most people are unaware they’re suffering from it until it’s too late.

“It was a very scary experience. Leading up to my heart attack, I had been under a lot of stress working the third shift and planning a surprise birthday party for my sister,” Perkins said. “I had a headache for a few days that I thought was a migraine and attributed it to this stress. Looking back, I know that my body was trying to tell me something.”

Perkins story is one of struggle and triumph. With World Hypertension Day coming up on May 17th, we’d like to see more people ending their hypertension struggle with the same lifesaving triumph.

Here’s everything you need to know about hypertension and how you can improve employee wellbeing:

What is hypertension?

Hypertension sounds like a term doctors throw around forgetting you didn’t go to med school. So, let’s break it down a bit.

Hypertension is high blood pressure. Which means the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. While it sounds like this would affect people in a distinct manner, there are no obvious symptoms — that’s why the disease is known as the silent killer.

However, there may be variety of symptoms indirectly linked to hypertension — dizziness, facial flushing, and blood spots in the eyes.

If you think employee wellbeing at your company isn’t affected by the disease, you’re wrong. In fact, about 85 million Americans — one out of every three adults over age 20 — have high blood pressure, according to an American Heart Association study. The biggest issue? Nearly one of out six don’t even know they have it.

The five categories

Blood pressure is measured with two numbers, systolic and diastolic. The systolic number represents the measure of pressure when the heart is contracting, the diastolic is when the heart is expanding after the contraction.

Encourage employee wellbeing at your company by knowing the the five blood pressure categories:

  • Normal: Under 120/80
  • Prehypertension: 120/80 to 139/89
  • Hypertension Stage 1: 140/90 to 159/99
  • Hypertension Stage 2: 160/100 or higher
  • Hypertension Crisis: Above 180/110

Employee wellbeing relies on checking and knowing these numbers on a consistent basis. Post a list of these categories in a common area to keep employees updated and thinking about their own numbers.

How to help employees

As a superhuman resources professional, your goals are based on taking care of employee wellbeing. While hypertension is difficult to diagnose, there are preventative measures you can help your team take to catch this silent killer in its early stages.

Install a blood pressure station equipped with a monitor and educational resources, like a blood pressure chart. Keep employee wellbeing fun and active by appointing a Sweat Squad to encourage employees to take quick exercise breaks.

Challenge employees to bring in heart healthy lunches, or start a tradition by catering food that can help lower blood pressure once a week.

Blood pressure is a serious issue, but employee wellbeing should be fun. Get your team in on the brainstorming process to keep them aware and healthy.

Make your employees feel loved