For over 20 years now, the fight against heart disease and stroke has been important to me. Together, we continue to fight for a future where a parent does not have to hear that their child has a heart defect; a future where an adult does not have to face the uncertain times after receiving a diagnosis of heart disease or suffering from a stroke; and a future where you and I will know that we’ve had a part in improving life for many others.
Once again, my Heart Walk focus is on blood pressure. We all know that high blood pressure is a dangerous silent killer:
· High blood pressure can cause problems ranging from heart attacks and strokes to vision loss, erectile dysfunction, and kidney failure.
· Almost half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure and very many don’t know they have it. Only about 25% of people with high blood pressure have been able to get it under control through lifestyle modifications and medication.
I am dedicating this year’s Heart Walk campaign to improving awareness and control of blood pressure. Over the last two months, I learned first-hand how low blood pressure can also be a serious problem: I was awoken by a loud noise at 3 AM on Sunday, January 13 of this year: On the way to the bathroom, Brooke had passed out, fallen face-first and, luckily, only cut her lip when she hit the floor. The following weeks were full of endless doctor's visits and medical tests. Ironically, the best medical guess is that Brooke's low blood pressure was due to a bad reaction to pain pills given for a January 6 lip surgery. It took weeks for Brooke to build back up to being able to be on her feet for more than a few minutes. Climbing stairs is still an ordeal.