15 Feb Controlling High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is a silent killer. Commonly referred to as high blood pressure, hypertension is a serious health risk because many who have it do not show any symptoms, leaving them unaware of their condition until they are suddenly faced with a medical emergency. The issue of high blood pressure is especially prevalent in America, where about a third of American adults has hypertension, and nearly 20% of them do not know.
If left untreated, high blood pressure can result in serious health consequences, including coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, vision loss, sexual dysfunction, peripheral artery disease, and dementia. With a laundry list of potential risks, it is imperative to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, which is exactly what Radová Lifestyle is all about!
Jill Edwards, certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, delves into the topic of hypertension in the article “How to Control Hypertension (High Blood Pressure),” posted by The Center for Nutrition Studies. In this blog post, we will cover this information with the goal of providing you the knowledge and tools to empower yourself and actively reduce your risk of hypertension.
Understanding Blood Pressure (BP)
A blood pressure reading is difficult to understand without knowing what the numbers mean or how high blood pressure is diagnosed. In simple terms, BP is determined by two numbers, measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The first number is called systolic, and measures blood pressure when the heart is beating. The second number, diastolic, measures BP when the heart is at rest.
A BP of 115/75 mmHg is most ideal, this is when risk of death and heart attack related to BP is at its lowest point, with almost zero risk. With that said, a higher reading is not necessarily a reason to worry, BP can go up to 140/90 mmHg and still be considered normal. High blood pressure is diagnosed when BP readings are persistently above 140/90 mmHg on at least three separate occasions.
High blood pressure is a silent killer, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. If you’re thinking “I already have high blood pressure,” or “hypertension runs in my family” and there is nothing you can do about, Edwards is quick to explain that this is not the case.
“Stop thinking that now! Your blood pressure is more a consequence of your lifestyle habits than your genes. […] If you do have a family history of hypertension it is even more important for you to make lifestyle changes. We have all heard it before, genes might be the “gun” but lifestyle is the ‘trigger.’”
As important as it is to understand how serious hypertension is, and how easily it can go unnoticed, it is equally important to understand what you can do about it. A healthy, active lifestyle is essential to us here at Radová; this is also the key to preventing and treating many health issues, including high blood pressure.
By making a few important lifestyle changes, you will not only control your blood pressure, you will improve your life. Edwards lists several examples of changes you can make in your daily life to control blood pressure, and they are all 100% Radová approved!
How You Can Control Your Blood Pressure
MAINTAIN GOOD NUTRITION
Good nutrition is the first step to good health. In many instances, especially in the case of blood pressure, restricting or cutting out meat is what truly makes all the difference.
“A mountain of studies, dating back to the early 1920s, show that those eating a plant-based diet have lower blood pressure than those including meat, eggs and dairy in their diet.”
That’s exactly right, a plant-based diet is the most optimal solution!
Sodium should be limited to no more than 2,300 mg a day. Keep sodium intake low, because even a small reduction can lower blood pressure anywhere from 2 to 8 mmHg. Edwards shares three effective suggestions for how to limit your sodium intake: avoid processed foods (and read food labels!), do not add salt to your meals (go for herbs and spices instead), and eat at home to control how much sodium goes into your meal.
“Regular physical activity, for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 mm Hg. Consistency is key because once you stop exercising, your blood pressure can creep back up.”
When work and busy schedules fill your day, a brisk walk or jog is an easy way to get those 30 minutes in!
Alcohol consumption poses a serious risk for raising blood pressure, even in small amounts, and in excessive amounts it can actually reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medication. Be aware of alcohol consumption and stay within the recommended limits of one drink per day for women or men under the age of 65, and two per day for men under 65. Keep in mind that serving sizes vary depending on the type of alcohol, below is a guideline:
Beer: 12 oz
Wine: 5 oz
Liquor (80 proof): 1.5 oz
DO NOT SMOKE
Considering the countless health risks posed by smoking cigarettes, particularly cardiovascular health, it’s no wonder that smoking is a risk to blood pressure as well. All it takes is one cigarette to immediately raise blood pressure, and even secondhand smoke can do the same. Lowering intake is not enough, the best thing to do is stop completely!
LEARN TO MANAGE STRESS
Stress can contribute to a number of health issues, including elevating blood pressure. Learning how to manage stress can benefit mental, emotional, and physical health in a number of ways, and is key to everything we promote at Radová Lifestyle. There are several strategies that have been known to help with stress management, such as yoga, meditation, music, and breathing exercises. Some work better than others depending on what you prefer, try some of them out and see what works best for you!
I hope this information has empowered you to take control of your blood pressure and overall health. A healthy, active lifestyle is the Radová way, and we strive to help you share it with us! Stay tuned for more information on health, wellness, and how to live the best life you can.