I was reading the personal blog of the woman responsible for the Vegan Lunch Box I recently posted about, and she talks about her husband getting a check up for blood pressure and getting a high reading. He intended to disregard this and go on with his unhealthy diet. (Yes, even married to a vegan educated about healthy eating. Go figure.)
Some of the people commenting on this entry also echoed this reasoning. They said things like, "So it adds a year or ten to your life, but you could get hit by a car anyway. Why not enjoy life." (A composite of that type of answer.)
Others responded that quality of life is why they eat healthy food! They feel much better and can enjoy life more.
It's sad we have this all-or-nothing approach to this issue. Can it really hurt to limit fast food to once or twice a week? Will we die if we don't have sweets and fried foods every single day? Can't we make an effort to eat the few veggies we like or add some fruit to our diet? Switch to olive oil and reduce butter? Exercise even a little more?
I met a woman once who had a stroke in her late thirties. She was bitter and angry that no one told her that because she had high blood pressure, she was risking stroke if she didn't treat it. She was in a wheelchair, paralyzed on her left side, and fully dependent upon people to help her shower, cook, clean, and live in her own apartment. What she would give to do something about that when she still could have.
High blood pressure can KILL you. It's hard to enjoy a big mac from the grave.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America (as well as chronic disease limiting quality of life before death) and high blood pressure is always the precursor or early warning sign. Control your blood pressure and even if you still develop heart disease you may increase the number of years before intervention is needed and improve your quality of life.
Don't be fooled into thinking thin people don't have high blood pressure or need to have it checked. Not true! Thin people die of heart disease too and get high blood pressure. They call it the silent killer for a reason--people don't know they have it until it's too late. Get checked regularly.