In America, about one-third of the adult population (75 million) suffers from high blood pressure. Hypertension (the medical term for high blood pressure) is a major public health problem and the number of hypertension-related deaths have continued to increase over the past 30 years.
Hypertension care specialists have determined that about 1 in every 20 cases of hypertension is caused by an underlying condition–such as chronic kidney disease or some adrenal or thyroid disorders–or medication, most hypertension cases have no exact known causes. However, there are many known risk factors that are closely associated with hypertension. These causes include:
But what is high blood pressure exactly? It is when blood applies too much force against the walls of the blood vessels. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder to circulate the blood throughout the body. In America today, high blood pressure is classified as anything higher than 130 over 80.
Most people who have hypertension don’t know it because there are very few symptoms. For this reason, it is known as the silent killer. Avoiding regular medical checkups and failing to monitor this condition once it has been discovered can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or other serious illness.
When a person is diagnosed with high blood pressure, the first-line treatment is through lifestyle adjustment. Below are lifestyle change suggestions to help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Exercising regularly is the most effective approach for keeping you healthy for years to come. Why is that? Keeping a healthy weight is the most effective way to reduce your chances for developing serious health problems. There are cases where your blood pressure is secondary (meaning you have high blood pressure as a result of an underlying condition).
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines: Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Increasing your physical activity will also have the added benefit of reducing stress, another contributing factor to hypertension.
Proper exercise and diet are the primary components of any weight loss service to battle obesity, and your food choices each day affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future. Preventing diseases starts with eating healthy. The U.S. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends the DASH diet for people with high blood pressure. DASH, or “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,” has been specially designed to help people lower their blood pressure. Generally speaking, the DASH diet increases the amount of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and reduces the amount of meat, poultry and sweets. Simply avoiding fast food and pre-packaged foods is a great start for improving your diet.
Here are some of the other dietary-related actions you can take to help reduce high blood pressure:
The nicotine in smoke elevates blood pressure, speeds up the heat rate and damages the walls of your blood vessels, all factors that contribute to hypertension. Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between smoking and heart disease, and quitting tremendously reduces your risk of heart disease.
There are many reasons to quit smoking and lowering your blood pressure is just one important reason. But if you won’t do it for yourself, then do it for your friends and loved ones, because studies have shown that even being exposed to second-hand smoke increases the chances of them contracting heart disease or lung cancer.
Going to your primary care physician as recommended (every year) is crucial to the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension. You can be proactive in monitoring your blood pressure at home by purchasing a high blood pressure monitor. This can help you discover what makes your blood pressure rise, so you can reduce exposure to it or eliminate it. If you know the feeling of high blood pressure, you can step away from the stressor while you’re away from home.
Stress naturally increases your blood pressure. When you have high blood pressure, it is very important to find ways to manage stress to reduce it. Since, the average American works 44 hours a week, most Americans have constant, unavoidable stress. Some effective activities for stress management are meditation, yoga, exercise or counselling.
If diet and exercise do not work for you, your doctor may suggest taking certain medications. They will start you off on small doses to see what works for you. The choice of drug depends on the individual and any other conditions they may have.
If you’re not sure if you have high blood pressure or need more help managing it. The Primary Care Physicians of Florida have the staff on hand in 13 conveniently located offices to get results quickly. Give us a call at 954-983-9191 or use our handy online contact form to schedule an appointment today.