Research from the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine indicates that high salaries are linked to high blood pressure (hypertension). The theory is that the job stress from a position that pays a high salary is what drives blood pressure through the roof. For those who don’t make those salaries, it’s a nice fantasy, but it may not be more than that.
If it’s true, it’s not clear whether this finding can be generalized to all cultures.
In the US, hypertension is more common among the black population than among whites, and increases with age. However, minorities and older Americans tend to have lower incomes. Conversely, American politicians tend to live forever. No stress?
An alternative explanation for the Japanese result might have to do with diet. We’ve seen that in China, where business executives in the industrialized areas have adopted western diets with all of the problems associated with excess weight and over-consumption of red meat.
For taking care of yourself, the key symptoms of high blood pressure are:
- Severe headaches
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears
It’s probably a good idea to have a blood pressure kit at home, so that you can check it on occasion. Just don’t over-react to it, and take multiple measures at different times of day and after you have been resting. Climbing a flight of stairs and then taking your blood pressure probably isn’t going to yield a reliable reading.
WebMD suggests a reading of 180/120 as dangerous. Another website offers optimal ranges, and optimal ranges by age:
I’m not endorsing these charts. If you have the symptoms or blood pressure readings at or above the maximums shows for your age, you probably need to have a conversation with your doctor relatively quickly.
I’m not making recommendations on diet here, but I’m sure there are readers with some thoughts on that subject. Let’s hear from you.