A recent Cochran review suggests annual health physicals may not be necessary and do not always reduce chronic disease. If you are healthy and have never smoked, your risk of chronic disease is lower. But how many people fit the label of healthy? Do you? When I take groups of blood pressures, the average is 140/70, with more than half of these adults having high blood pressure.
Let’s examine some recent numbers to define healthy. Is your blood pressure less than 120/70? Pre-hypertension, pre-high blood pressure, is a reading of 121/71 up to 139/89. Most Americans are falling in this category. American Heart Association reports 37% of adults are unaware they have elevated blood pressure. Only 50% of adults with high blood pressure have control of the pressure to levels less than 120/70. Hypertension is blood pressures 140/90 and above and is diagnosed after 2 high readings.
Indiana is one of the states with the highest death rates of cardiovascular diseases and strokes. High blood pressure is associated with diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking. Recent research reports women ages 35-44 are having an increased rate of cardiovascular disease and may not survive their first heart attack. Women have non-classic signs of heart attack and may experience back pain, flu like symptoms, and nausea. Men experience classic chest pain or heaviness in the chest.
The health physical is one method to identify high blood pressures early. You cannot feel your high blood pressure. As time goes on, damage to organs causes major disease. It is recommended that worksite wellness programs provide biannual blood pressure checks if normal and monthly checks if high.
Adults spend a majority of their time at work leaving less time for the health physical at a doctor’s office that may take over an hour of your time, with only a few minutes with the doctor. Advanced practice nurses are Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists. These nurses are highly capable to complete health physicals, wellness screenings, and provide a holistic approach to wellness without prescriptions.
Mary Ann Wietbrock is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Cardinal Elements, A Wellness Program for Individuals and Businesses. She is qualified to provide wellness physicals and wellness coaching. She provides complete wellness program for small businesses, creative health fairs, and engaging presentations to promote wellness. www.cardinalelements.com. 317-410-9140