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It's a good think to know your numbers
Rich DeLong is the Executive Director of The Suites at Station Exchange. - photo by File photo

My good friend stopped by my office the other day, somewhat surprising me with his visit. He looked a little perplexed and indicated to me he had just found out that he had high blood pressure.You should know that my friend is in relatively good shape. He’s slightly younger than me and stays very active; and he recently lost about 10 pounds by way of good dieting and exercise.  I asked him how he discovered that his blood pressure was high.  He said he had it taken at the dentist’s office just prior to a procedure he was scheduled to have.
Uh, does anybody else see what’s wrong with this picture?  Having your blood pressure taken while sitting in the dentist chair is like getting your cholesterol checked right after eating a double-bacon-cheese-burger omelet with a side of fries and a shake.  He might as well be jumping out of a plane or walking on hot coals as his blood pressure is being taken.
When I was dating Jennifer (my soon-to-be wife at the time) we used to get our blood pressure taken by one of those machines you find at your local pharmacy. Then we would compare our readings to see who had the lowest pressure. She would usually beat me on the systolic reading; but I would rally back sometimes with a lower diastolic number. More times than not she claimed the title of BP Champion. No matter how hard I tried to think of butterflies, teddy bears and palm trees as that cuff would clamp onto my arm like a giant nutcracker, I could not beat her score.
It so happens her cholesterol, triglycerides, pulse and hearing are also better than mine. I think good genes may have something to do with all this. I guess the real question is do the numbers really translate into good health; or are the numbers just nice guidelines with no guarantee of longevity?
Is the person with a normal blood pressure reading healthy even though he may be overweight and out of shape? Is the woman who runs daily and maintains a healthy diet and weight considered unhealthy because her cholesterol is high?  These are good questions for which there are many answers. Our society is so number-driven that we many times just focus on the end-result rather than the process of reaching our goals.  
Obviously desired numbers related to key health issues provides at least a good starting point. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80. Numbers much higher than that warrant some investigation. Poor readings don’t necessarily translate into bad health; but less-than-desired numbers could mean there is a problem that may get worse without some form of intervention.
I recently heard that doctors are concerned because less and less patients are scheduling appointments for flu vaccinations; primarily because one can obtain a flu shot at just about any pharmacy. Doctors used to be able to count on seeing their patients at least once a year for a flu shot; and would routinely screen for other health issues during this visit – realizing that a proactive approach regarding one’s health is always the best course of action in preventing greater health issues.
So do yourself a favor and make sure you visit your doctor annually.  Be sure you know your numbers and then you can set a course for keeping yourself healthy and well.  

Contact DeLong at 912-531-7867 or visit him on the web at

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