Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure
Edited by Batkingnz, Lynn, Eng
If you're affected by high blood pressure, you might not know it until it's too late. This is because there aren't generally early symptoms for you to notice, or some symptoms like a bleeding nose might be ignored and attributed to things like dry heat or stress. It's important to be aware of the risk factors and take preventative measures to both avoid high blood pressure and maintain a healthy range of blood pressure. Everyone over the age of 22 should at least get their blood pressure checked by their practitioner or use a home device to check it. That way you can adjust your behaviors as needed to keep a healthy blood pressure, or seek further medical attention to reduce high blood pressure if you are already affected.
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the term used for a measurement of pressure that blood pushes against the walls of our arterial tracts. There are different available methods to measure your blood pressure which incorporate a pressurized arm band and a reading of the sound blood makes as it pulses back through your veins. High blood pressure is the term for when the pressure is too much for our arterial system. Imagine a hose with water running through it, but you can reduce the flow of water coming out by blocking the exit point. This causes a pressure build up and the water will now push against and flex the sides of the hosepipe. This is a similar thing to what can happen inside your body, leading to severe complications like heart failure, so controlling blood pressure should be something on everybody's minds.
Risk Factors and Risky Activities for High Blood Pressure
- 1A family history of high blood pressure.As with many conditions, genetics can play a role in your risk for high blood pressure. Studies show that your risk of developing high blood pressure is increased when you have family members suffering from the condition. You would be most at risk if a parent or grandparent had developed high blood pressure. Genetic research shows that there are specific genes involved in subjects with high blood pressure, which gives further evidence that the risk can be hereditary.Advertisement
- 2Age and Ethnicity.The risk of high blood pressure increases with age, and also shows signs of being more prevalent in African Americans as well as the Pacific Island (Polynesian and Melanesian) ethnic groups. It's not known whether this is due to specific genetics or diets typically consumed in the related cultures.Advertisement
- 3Diet.Your diet can affect your blood pressure and lead to high blood pressure. Cholesterol and salty foods can be a cause of high blood pressure, with salt being more risky for people who have diabetes. Cutting down on cholesterol sources and avoiding added salt in your diet can reduce the risk. There are also over-the-counter products, as well as food products with additives, that can reduce your cholesterol absorption. Some foods that are rich in potassium and calcium, like beans, leafy green vegetables, bananas, melons, tomatoes, etc., may help in lowering your blood pressure and reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure.
- 4Body Weight.Subjects in studies that were more than 30 percent over their safe weight were more likely to develop high blood pressure. You can use a BMI calculator like the one here to get a basic understanding of your safe body weight. Exercise, along with reduced caloric intake and healthy food choices, can bring your weight down, while also giving you additional benefits like a boosted immune system and a stronger heart.
- 5Smoking.Smoking can increase your blood pressure due to the stimulant effects of nicotine, but also by damaging your cardiovascular system. Quitting smoking can not only reduce your risk of high blood pressure, but also help you to avoid other complications like diabetes, heart failure, and various types of cancers and strokes.
- 6Alcohol.It's best to consume alcohol only in moderate amounts for all areas of your health, including reducing your risk of high blood pressure. For people who are already suffering from high blood pressure, alcohol should be cut out completely or kept to a minimum, as studies have shown that alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure or negatively affect measures you have taken to reduce your blood pressure.
- 7Stress.Stress can be a major cause of short term elevated blood pressure. If stress is not managed correctly, it can prolong its effects and lead to clinical high blood pressure. Try to take time out from a hectic lifestyle to relax, and if there are things on your mind causing you stress, talk to people about them and figure out solutions to your problems. Stress can be an indirect killer as it leads to premature aging, high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as mental conditions like depression that affect your everyday life.Advertisement
Quick Tips For Reducing and Managing Blood Pressure
- Reduce your body weight and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Decrease your sodium (salt) intake.
- Increase potassium and calcium rich food intake.
- Eat more vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables.
- Reduce or cut out any alcohol consumption.
- Manage your stress and seek help from friends, family or professionals if you're over your head.
- Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body.
- Increase your fiber intake.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid drugs that elevate blood pressure like caffeine or other stimulants.
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.