How Managing Hypertension Can Save Your Life
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is nicknamed “the silent killer”. It is a common misconception that you should have symptoms (headaches, blurry vision, chest pain) when your blood pressure is too high. However, the majority of people do not have any symptoms at all.
Blood pressure screening near Mesa should be started at age 40, or sooner if there are other risk factors, and continue to be checked annually. Blood pressure is read as a ratio of 2 numbers. The top number is called the systolic pressure. It is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is contracting, or beating. The bottom number is called the diastolic pressure. It is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxing, or between beats. Both numbers are important and both help determine the diagnosis of high blood pressure.
Recently the guidelines for diagnosing high blood pressure have changed. The criteria for high blood pressure was decreased as studies repeatedly show that even at lower blood pressure, the risk for complications is twice that of those with normal blood pressure. This change in guidelines will result in nearly half of the US population as being classified as hypertensive.
Normal blood pressure is still considered 120/80 or less. Now however, blood pressures over 120/80 are advised to begin lifestyle modifications and blood pressures greater than 140/90 should be treated with medication. Complications from high blood pressure include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and dementia.
While the vast majority of these people will not need to take prescribed medicine, there are many changes you can make to your lifestyle to help fight hypertension and make sure your blood pressure remains at a healthy level.
Eating healthier is quite possibly the most difficult of lifestyle changes, as it ties in to other remedies as well. Eating a low sodium diet is essential for managing your hypertension. Too much salt in your diet is a large factor in high blood pressure, and making this change can contribute to a much healthier lifestyle.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Just like having too much sodium in your diet contributes to high blood pressure, so does alcohol. Manage your hypertension by having no more than one or two drinks per day. Drinking any more than this can increase your blood pressure far beyond the healthy levels.
Another way to manage your hypertension ties in with the previous two solutions. Being overweight or obese significantly increases your chances of high blood pressure, so remedying this will have a great impact on your health overall. The Mayo Clinic says, “Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises your blood pressure.”
If you already have hypertension or are on the verge of developing it, exercising regularly can help reduce your chances of getting it and lower your blood pressure significantly. Having an even, healthy mix of strength training and aerobic exercises is the best way to maintain good blood pressure numbers. Lifting weights, running, swimming, or dancing can all be part of your daily physical routine.
Smokers already have a higher risk for a lot of medical issues, but one that may seem surprising is developing hypertension. We’re always quick to associate smoking with pulmonary complications, but in reality, smoking affects every part of your body. Quitting this habit can not only improve your blood pressure, but also your overall health.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
This can be a difficult change in your diet if you aren’t a morning person, but the effects of caffeine on blood pressure are still widely debated among medical groups. If you drink copious amounts of caffeine a day, then there could be a chance that it has little to no bearing on your blood pressure. But if you aren’t someone who drinks caffeine regularly, it could do just the opposite. The best way to make sure caffeine doesn’t affect you negatively is to talk to your Family Physician In Mesa.
High blood pressure in Mesa is the number one killer in the United States, and managing it properly through blood pressure screening underlines the importance of getting an annual physical. By screening for preventable disease and managing those diseases with little to no symptoms, you can live a longer, healthier life. Your health is easily taken for granted or put on the back burner. Call us today to make yourself and your health a priority.
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