High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a condition in which the pressure inside your arteries is abnormally high. Estimates show that more than 60 million Americans, perhaps up to 72 million, have high blood pressure. It is sometimes called the "silent killer," as about a third of sufferers are not even aware they have it, sometimes for years. Uncontrolled high blood pressure puts you at increased risk of serious health problems, including stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease. Hypertension is a major risk factor for two of the leading causes of death--heart disease and stroke.
The good news is high blood pressure is not only easily detected--it is also highly treatable. It is always easier to prevent high blood pressure than trying to control it once it has developed. The steps you should take to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure are similar to those recommended to reduce your risk of weight gain, cancer, and heart disease. In general, you should eat a healthy diet rich in whole grains, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. Also, studies have shown that even a small decrease in sodium intake can have a dramatic effect on your blood pressure.
Exercise is important as well. Not only does it help with weight gain, but it can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. In studies, those who were able lose even a small amount of weight showed a decrease in their blood pressure.
Smokers have an added incentive to try to quit smoking. Cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are certainly major considerations when deciding to quit using tobacco products, as these are significant risks to those who continue to use these products. But the use of tobacco is a major risk factor for developing high blood pressure as well, and quitting smoking can have a dramatic effect of lowering your blood pressure.
Reducing stress in your life and learning how to cope with the inevitable difficult situations that you experience can also help keep your blood pressure in check. Learning stress management techniques and avoiding stressful situations whenever possible can help reduce your general stress level. If you find that you are under chronic stress, it may be time to evaluate what you can do the alleviate some of the tension and anxiety in your life. From little changes to major lifestyle changes, reducing stress is an important component of your overall health and well-being and can have a real effect on your blood pressure.
If you have any other medical conditions or diseases, talk with your doctor to find ways to avoid a rise in your blood pressure, either from the condition itself, or as a side-effect of treatment. You should also find out if any medications you are taking could raise your blood pressure. If so, consider alternative treatments, use good self-care to stay healthy, and have your blood pressure monitored every six months to a year.
At U City Flats Apartments in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we believe it’s important to live life vigorously. In order to do so, you must educate yourself regularly with lifestyle-enhancing tips such as these. With this blog post, we seek to improve your way of life through education that promotes self-care.