One of the most common and significant risks for heart disease is hypertension. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 1 out of every 3 Americans suffer from hypertension – and that adds up to about 75 million adults at risk of cardiovascular disease.
Hypertension is commonly known as high blood pressure… but what does that really mean?
Your blood pressure refers to the pressure exerted from the heart to pump blood through the arteries to different parts of the body. There are 2 measurements for blood pressure.
• Systolic pressure – refers to the pressure in your arteries when your heart muscle contracts. The blood is pushing your artery walls during your heartbeats.
• Diastolic pressure – this is the minimum arterial pressure between beats when the heart rests.
A normal reading would be 120/80… this is usually known as ‘120 over 80’, where the systolic is 120, and the diastolic is 80. This is the ideal reading.
You should get your blood pressure checked at regular intervals to make sure that you’re not suffering from hypertension. Your doctor will be the best person to advise you.
Regardless if you’re suffering from hypertension or not. There are a few lifestyle modifications that you can adopt, to either prevent hypertension or mitigate it, depending on your situation. Let’s look at a few ways you can manage that.
• Change Your Diet
Without a doubt, this will have the most substantial impact on your condition. The first thing you need to do will be to reduce your salt intake. The sodium in your body and food has a direct correlation with your blood pressure levels. The more sodium in your body, the more your blood pressure will be elevated.
Switch to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Eat foods that are not rich, cut your sugar intake, and avoid foods high in saturated fats.
• Lose Weight
Obesity or even being overweight affects your blood pressure. Get on a calorie-restricted diet and exercise regularly. Once you bring your weight down, your blood pressure level will stabilize and be easier to manage.
• Increase Your Activity
Exercise daily, if possible. The extra activity will not only improve your stamina and strength but will also help to prevent hypertension.
• Quit Smoking
This is a very tough habit to break, but it’s something you MUST do. Smoking causes heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and many other health problems. Start on a program to help you quit smoking. There are many alternatives, such as nicotine patches, etc. to help you quit this nasty addiction.
• Reduce or Stop Alcohol Consumption
Depending on the severity of your hypertension, you might even have to stop consuming alcohol altogether. If your blood pressure issues are not out of hand, the occasional drink should be excellent. Just make sure that you do not overdo it.
Stress is one of the major causes of hypertension. When you’re always stressed out, it takes an emotional, mental, and physical toll on you. Stress is known as the silent killer of the 21st century, and it opens the doors to many health problems, one of which is hypertension.
Make time to de-stress. You could meditate, do yoga, watch a comedy, etc. The activity doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have a laugh and have fun. This mental break from the daily stresses and troubles of life will unwind you and make you feel better.
Follow the tips above and lower your blood pressure to normal levels. It’s essential to take immediate remedial action to nip the problem in the bud, or at least prevent it from escalating. Doing so will reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, which is a much more severe health problem.