Singer Monica’s music career 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 beautiful Grammy-winning R&B singer takes pride in knowing a more surprising set of figures: her blood pressure numbers.
Now, at age 41, she wants everyone else to know their numbers too.
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 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 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.”
This wasn’t the first health scare for the star. When she was just 18 years old and touring the country in support of her second album, she was performing in Washington, D.C., belting out the first portion of “Angel of Mine” when something strange happened.
“Everything in front of me basically began to go from color to black-and-white, fading in and out,” she said. “I walked to the side of the stage to ask for help and collapsed into one of our staff people’s arms.”
Over the next eight days, doctors struggled to trace the source of her problem. After multiple tests, and a few weeks, doctors finally found their answer.
The diagnosis: a heart condition called mitral valve prolapse. In simple terms, the flap between the upper and lower chambers of her heart wasn’t closing properly.
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:
Do you know YOUR numbers?
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