Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, April 21, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:10



Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 21, 2018 



Dear Savvy Senior, 

What numbers constitute high blood pressure? I use 
to be pre-hypertensive, but they keep changing the 
guidelines, so I’m not sure where I fit in now. 

Approaching 60

Dear Approaching,

If you’re unsure what your blood pressure levels 
should be, you’re not alone. Recent changes 
in the hypertension guidelines made by the 
American Heart Association and the American 
College Cardiology mean that roughly 30 million 
more Americans than previously thought are 
now considered to have high blood pressure 

 According to the new guidelines, anyone with a 
blood pressure reading above 130/80 is considered 
to have high blood pressure. 

 Previously, those with a blood pressure reading 
between 120/80 and 139/89 would have been put 
in the prehypertension category and wouldn’t 
have been considered hypertensive until they got 
to 140/90. 

 But the new guidelines eliminate the 
prehypertension category, putting everyone with 
systolic pressure readings (top number) between 
120 and 129 and a diastolic reading (bottom 
number) below 80 in a new “elevated” category. 
And those with a reading of 130/80 or higher fall 
in some stage of hypertension. Here’s a complete 
rundown of the new five category blood pressure 

• Normal: A top number less than 120 and a 
bottom number less than 80. 
• Elevated: A top number between 120 and 129, 
and a bottom number less than 80. 
• Stage 1: A top number between 130 and 139, 
or a bottom number between 80 and 89. 
• Stage 2: A top number of 140 or higher, or a 
bottom number of 90 or higher. 
• Hypertensive crisis: A top number over 180 or 
a bottom number over 120. 

Get Checked

Millions of Americans with high blood pressure 
don’t know they have it because it usually has 
no outward signs or symptoms. But high blood 
pressure, over time, can damage your arteries and 
increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney 
damage and even dementia. To guard against 
this, everyone over the age of 40, as well as those 
younger with risk factors for hypertension should 
get their blood pressure checked at least once a 

 If you find that your blood pressure numbers 
fall in the “elevated” category, you should take 
steps now to get it under control. Lifestyle changes 
like eating a healthy diet, losing weight, exercising, 
watching your salt intake, quitting smoking, and 
cutting back on alcohol is often all you need to get 
it back to normal. 

 Even if your blood pressure numbers are 
in the “stage 1” category, lifestyle changes 
are recommended first, unless you’ve had a 
heart attack or stroke, or you’re at high risk for 
cardiovascular problems because you smoke, 
have high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes. Then 
medications may be prescribed.

 But if your blood pressure falls in the “stage 
2” or higher category, the new guidelines suggest 
medication, regardless of age, plus lifestyle 

 There are several different kinds of drugs 
used to lower blood pressure. It usually makes 
sense to start with the oldest, safest, and least 
expensive drug: diuretics, or water pills, such as 
chlorthalidone or hydrochlorothiazide. But these 
meds can drive up blood sugar levels, so if you 
have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of it, your doctor 
may prescribe another drug, such as an ACE 
inhibitor, ARB or calcium channel blocker. 

 You should also be aware that blood pressure 
drugs could cause side effects including dizziness, 
gastrointestinal problems, fatigue and headaches. 
They can also cause a decline in kidney function 
so make sure your doctor periodically monitors 
your potassium levels.

 For more information, see the American Heart 
Association comprehensive Web page on high 
blood pressure at


 Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. 
Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.
org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today 
show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.


Howard Rubin, Anita Hardy, Hattie Harris, Mary Harley, Bette White, Dorothy 
White, Doris Behrens, Freda Bernard, Beth Copti, Terri Cummings, Marilyn 
Diaz, Virginia Elliott, Elma Flores, Betty Jo Gregg, Barbara Lampman, Betty 
Mackie, Elizabeth Rassmusen, Maria Reyes, Marian DeMars, Anne Schryver, 
Chrisine Bachwansky, Colleen McKernan, Sandy Swanson, Hank Landsberg, Ken Anhalt, Shannon 
Vandevelde * To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. 
YEAR of birth not required

ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart 
Park House (Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre



Hawaiian & Polynesian Dance Class: Every Tuesday morning from 10a.m. to 
11a.m. Join the class with Instructor Barbara Dempsey as she leads you in the 
art of Hula. 

Bingo Time: Every Tuesday beginning at 1:00p.m. Cards are only $0.25 each! Everyone is welcome to 
join. Activity may be canceled if less than five people. 

Free Blood Pressure Testing: 2nd Tuesdays of the month from 11a.m. to 12p.m. No appt. is necessary. 

Brain Games: Join us on Thursday, April 19th at 10:30a.m. to 11:30a.m for Scattergories, a creative 
thinking game by naming objects within a set of categories; or Jenga, a block-building challenge that 
keeps you stacking and balancing your tower. Everyone is welcome, and no experience is needed. What 
a great way to strengthen your brain and make new friends. Games facilitated by Senior Volunteers. 

Free Legal Consultation: Wednesday, April 18th from 10:30am to Noon. Attorney Lem Makupson is 
available for legal consultation. Specializing in Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Estates, and Injury. Please 
call Hart Park House for an appointment, 626-355-7394. 

Senior Club: Meets every Saturday at the Hart Park House Senior Center. Brown Bag Lunch at 

Chair Yoga: Mondays & Wednesdays from 11:00a.m. to 11:45a.m. with Paul Hagen. Classes include 
Yoga and balance exercises. All ability levels are encouraged and welcomed!

* A voluntary donation of $5.00 per week is suggested but not required.

Birthday Celebrations: Every 2nd Thursday monthly at the Hart Park House, share some free 
birthday cake provided by the Sierra Madre Civic Club! 

Free Strength Training Class: Fridays from 12:45p.m. to 1:30p.m. with Lisa Brandley. This 
energetic class utilizes light weights, low impact resistance training and body conditioning. Class 
equipment is provided. 

Tax Assistance: Every Wednesday beginning on February 7th through April 11th from 1:00p.m. 
to 2:00p.m ...Don Brunner is available for income tax consultation... 
**Appointments are required by calling the Hart Park House Office 626-355-7394**

 ** Call Community Services Department for details about the “Ear to Ear Program” returning in 
2018** 626 - 355 - 5278


 This is an article that I wrote 
several years ago, before we 
were thrust into the brave new 
world of Common Core and 
computerized “smart” tests. 
I hope you enjoy this quaint 
look at what standardized state 
testing used to be like.

 Spring is here ! Blossoms perfume the air 
as I walk through our beautiful town. While 
this season is a time for celebrating nature’s 
rebirth, it comes with the ominous raincloud 
of Standardized Testing! I feel sorry for high 
school students facing this academic adversary; 
it seems like the competition grows fiercer every 
year. When I was in high school I had a healthy 
concern about the test, but I didn’t give myself 
an ulcer signing up for tutoring 
or pouring over SAT study guides 
(okay, I bought one, but I didn’t 
pour over it). What did strike fear 
in my heart was the dreaded GRE 
(Graduate Record Examination) 
which I had to pass in order to 
enter grad school. If you haven’t 
had the pleasure, the GRE is sort 
of like the SAT on steroids. 

 I’ve tried to repress memories 
of this daunting experience, 
but I still recall the practice CD 
Rom with its algebraic equations 
and writing prompts such as 
“defend or refute the use of trade 
embargoes.” I frantically typed while watching 
a red time clock tick down (because a test is 
always scarier if it’s timed!). I wondered what 
any of this had to do with my future in Health 
and Human Services. All’s well that ends well, 
I think that CD eventually found its way into a 
celebratory bonfire.

 If you have elementary school kids you’ve 
probably received newsletters alerting you to the 
upcoming crucial week(s) of standardized state 
testing. Make sure they’re well rested, fed, and 
at school on time! When I was a student my 
teachers always stressed having a good breakfast 
on testing days, but I never felt any smarter for 
it. The truth is, however, that it’s the teachers 
who are really stressed out over these fateful 
booklets (Ha! Booklets! How 20th century!). 
One careless kid can swing the school’s whole 
API (Academic Performance Index), which 
in turn can taint the district’s AYP (Adequate 
Yearly Progress) report. Next thing you know, 
home values drop because the neighboring 
city’s kids did better on this one test, taken one 
week, targeting what is sometimes a very narrow 
range of skills. Since this test is of supreme 
importance, it used to require teachers to sign 
a statement testifying that they’d been trained 
in the handling of test booklets. Every day after 
school, the booklets were collected and locked 
in bins in a secure location (I kid you not!). Of 
course these days it’s all online, so schools don’t 
need to reinvent Fort Knox on their campuses. 
Children’s work was stowed away with the 
same level of protection given to documents of 
national security.

 Considering the magnitude of this exam, 
it is understandable that teachers were tempted 
to become irate when students casually flipped 
over reading sections, filled in random bubbles, 
and turned in a seven-page exam after three 
minutes. While we all hope our kiddos will put 
their best effort into this ordeal, you can’t help 
but understand why some kids burn out after 
hours of math, science, writing, and reading 
about gripping topics such as mural artists and 
memoirs of a childhood in England during the 
Industrial Revolution.

 One of my Mom’s teacher friends is fond 
of telling about one of her students (nearing 
middle age by now) who spent a considerable 
amount of time on his test before turning in an 
answer sheet with all the “B’s” bubbled in except 
the last item, which was blank. When she asked 
why he didn’t fill in that one he said, “I didn’t 
know the answer.” Seriously, you can’t make this 
stuff up! Moral of the story: sleep well, eat a 
good breakfast, and color in a variety of letters 
(or, these days, click on a variety of answers). 

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