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High blood pressure and your eyes

This guest post was written by Kari Kelso, who is a Senior Data Analyst in the Provider Information and Intelligence Department at VSP Vision Care. February reminds us that love is all around. Unfortunately, our love does not stop with our relationships. The average American consumes about twice as much sodium as our bodies need, according to the Centers for Disease Control. We love salt, but we should not just “take it with a grain of salt” when it comes to our food. Fortunately, regular comprehensive eye exams can reveal if our love affair with salt is contributing to high blood pressure.During an eye exam, your eye doctor will dilate your eyes to look at small blood vessels in the retina with a handheld machine called an ophthalmoscope. Thickened, narrowed or bursted blood vessels may be early warning signs of damage to the heart and kidneys.Here is what else you need to know about blood pressure ranges:

  • Normal: Less than 120 over 80
  • Prehypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
  • Stage 1 High Blood Pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
  • Stage 2 High Blood Pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above

The American Heart Association recommends people to consume less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Salt may not be the only culprit that contributes to high blood pressure, but it is one we can control. Other factors include smoking, aging, weight fluctuations, stress and a decrease in physical activities. As with so many other conditions, genetics and family history are strong indicators as well.

By Dave Johnston

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