By M. Brooks, blackdoctor.org
Monica’s music careers spans more than 20 years, she’s sold over 30 million albums worldwide, with seven albums and a Grammy under her belt. As impressive as those numbers are, the Grammy-winning R&B singer takes pride in knowing a more surprising set of figures: her blood pressure numbers.
And she wants millennials to do the same.
“Millennials are young, passionate and cool, but we say things like, ‘It is what it is,’ but when it comes to your health this does not apply,” she shared in a new video as part of the American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED to Serve initiative.
In early 2016, Monica revealed how she suffered from high blood pressure and the painful way she discovered it. “I used to have horrible, debilitating headaches. I could not move or get out of the bed. And sometimes it would hurt so bad that I would just pass out.”
“When I went to the doctor, my blood pressure was 185,” says Monica.
“So after being hospitalized for the same thing over and over again, I’ve learned to change some things. Number one, reduce the stress. Then change from salty foods and salt (Monica loves seasoned salt) to more healthy alternatives and change from soda–I love some coca-cola–but now I just drink it in moderation.”
Having high blood pressure isn’t only a concern for older adults. The singer reminds millennials that it’s important for people of all ages to know their blood pressure. You may feel totally fine and still have high blood pressure. Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and heart failure, stroke, kidney failure; and permanently damage your heart, brain, eyes and kidneys.
What Your Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Your blood pressure numbers are a ratio of two numbers, systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number). According to the AHA, “The top number, which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts).” The lower number on the bottom “measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).”
Use the following chart from the AHA as a guide: