2 BOCNEWS.com JUNE 2017 " I Beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." — Romans 12:1 It is truly amazing to think about all of the numbers that we need to remember such as our social secu- rity number, zip code, our address, many telephone numbers, and perhaps numerous numbers in our computer passwords. There are also numbers we hear about concerning our health: such as our blood sugar level, our cholesterol, our body weight, and various laboratory values. I would like to mention to you one of the most important numbers you need to know, even though it may fluctuate, and change, and that number is our blood pressure. When you go to a physician's office it is one of the early num- bers you will hear along with your body weight. We may not stop to think that our blood pressure could be a matter of life or death. The number is often written like this: 120/80. It is something we really need to pay close attention to, especially if we are told, as we may be frequently at times, that the num- ber is too high! We cannot feel our blood pressure, although I have had people tell me that they can feel it when their blood pressure is too high--and they are always wrong! It is a number that must be measured. It is simple to measure and with the right equipment we can even measure our own blood pressure at home. So what is the big deal about blood pressure? The big deal is that 78 million people in our country have what we call "high blood pressure" even though they may feel perfectly well. It has been called a silent kill- er as many have it prior to a catastrophic and even fatal illness. It is actually a worldwide plague and not just in our own country. It is the most commonly diagnosed condition in a medical office or even in the community during a health screening. Hypertension or high blood pressure is a contributing factor to such critical conditions such as heart failure, heart attack, stroke, and chronic kidney disease. It me be linked therefore with chronic illness, debility and a decline in the quality of a persons life. On the worldwide scene we need to be aware of the fact that high blood pressure varies by ethnic group as to how prevalent it is (how frequently it is found). In the United States, the prevalence is as follows: 42% in African Americans, 28% in Whites, 26% in Hispanics, and about 25% in Asian populations. I realize it is not always easy to put people in those categories but I think you can see a pattern here. The African American population is at greatest risk when it comes to hypertension. If this is true we need to pay attention to this and we actually need to pay attention to everyone who has high blood pressure. One glar- ing fact to note is that for the most part, high blood pressure is relatively easy to diagnose. Once we diagnose the condi- tion, action is needed! I have had the privilege of working in medical offices in numerous places and in com- munity health fairs where screening takes place. I always pay close attention to any indi- vidual who has hypertension. As noted it is relatively easy to diagnose and there are mul- tiple medications and lifestyle interventions which can help to get things under control. After seeing the devastating conditions that are associated with high blood pressure, believe me, I am high motivated to intervene! Often it may take multiple interventions to get things under control, but the effort is worth it. Let us look at what may happen to a particular person from the time they are diagnosed and treated for hypertension. Let's just say we have a 40 year old man who comes to a medical office and on more than one occasion has blood pressure that is too high. Depending on how high it is and on other co-existing health issues, intervention is done. Always, lifestyle measures will be discussed such as weight control, a more healthy diet (with decreased salt use, more fruits and vegetables, decreased fat intake), appro- priate exercise, stress management, alcohol intake and habits such as smoking. Perhaps medication will be started sooner or later. No one should be sur- prised if it takes more than one medication to control blood pressure! The important point with medica- tion is to take it as directed and call if there are any side effects, or questions. A goal blood pressure should be discussed and many practi- tioners may ask the patient to purchase a self-inflating, bat- tery powered device to measure blood pressure at home. Let me just state that home blood pressure monitoring is of great value. It has been established that blood pressure screen- ing should start about age 18 and done about yearly, if blood pressure is normal. There needs to be some flexibility in this according to the estab- lished practices if each medical provider. We need to be aware of the fact that there is great value in community blood pressure screening. It may allow high blood pressure to be detected and/or confirmed. It may be found even though a person is already on medication because medication adjustment is needed, a medi- cal office visit is overdue, or a person is not taking medication correctly. Blood pressure screening can be done in barbershops, salons (something I am involved in), in churches and in various community centers. Finally, let me give one word of caution. If you have been told that you have had or have high blood pres- sure, do not ignore this. If you do have it, it is not going to magically disappear! If it has been awhile since you saw a doctor, you need to go in to be seen. Do not assume because you feel well your blood pressure is OK! it can be very high with no symptoms as all. Pay attention to life- style issues such as your body weight, diet, exercise, salt use, and other issues your medical provider may have mentioned. If you have to measure your blood pressure at home or feel the need to do this--just do it. I trust that the above information is helpful. May God help you to live longer and better and take care of yourself! An Important NumberYou Need to Know Dr. Conner By Byron E. Conner, M.D. HEALTH 1. Preshea Hilliard - The Glory Experience 2. Gospel 4 - Get My Business Straight 3. Kenny Lewis - Refocus 4. Mandisa - Out Of The Dard 5. Sherwin Gardner - Greater 6. The Williams Singers - In Real Time 7. Ben Tankard - Full Tank 8. Jermaine Dolly - Dolly Express 9. Trip Lee - The Waiting Room 10 J.J. Hairston - You Deserve It After seeing the devastating conditions that are associated with high blood pressure, believe me, I am high motivated to intervene.