It is normal for blood pressure to rise when you exercise or are stressed. But if the pressure is too high, even when you're resting, and stays too high for too long, it can expand and damage the arteries. Health problems caused by high blood pressure can include heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, memory loss, and cognitive decline.
A healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your blood pressure within the recommended range. How are you doing it:
- Maintain a healthy weight. The higher your BMI, the higher your chance of developing high blood pressure. Find your BMI from your doctor and aim for a normal weight range for your height
- Monitor your blood pressure. Always check your blood pressure at home and take a blood pressure record with your readings to your doctor. It's especially important to get regular checkups if you're over 40, overweight, inactive, or have a family history of heart disease or high blood pressure.
- Eat heart healthy food. This means eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and low in sodium and alcohol. Get practical ideas for heart-healthy meals at Eat Smart.
- Get or stay healthy. Physical activity can help control weight and reduce the risk of many different heart problems.
- Do not smoke, or if you do, stop smoking. Smoking damages your blood vessels.
- Learn healthy ways to manage stress. Many people find yoga, meditation, music, and tai chi helpful.
Healthcare for patients with high blood pressure
Blood pressure readings have two numbers: systolic and diastolic
Systolic pressure is the force of the blood against the artery walls as the heart contracts to pump blood. Systolic pressure is always the highest number.
Diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats when the heart is relaxed. Unit of measurement in millimeters of mercury (mmHg)
Ideal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg (called "120 over 80") or lower. High blood pressure in adults is defined as a systolic pressure greater than 140 or a diastolic pressure greater than 90. Generally, a diagnosis of high blood pressure results if you have high readings on three different occasions during the week. Blaha said some people's blood pressure fluctuates and some have what's called "white coat hypertension" -- higher readings caused by feeling stressed in the doctor's office. You may be asked to wear a portable blood pressure monitor to get accurate readings.
Less than half of these people have high blood pressure
Less than half of people with high blood pressure have it under control. But if the condition is caught early and treated properly, the outlook is good.
Sometimes high blood pressure can only be treated with lifestyle changes, which are the first line of defense. In other cases, treatment requires a healthy lifestyle, medication and medical care.
To lower your blood pressure, you should:
- Follow your doctor's advice. For patients diagnosed wit h high blood pressure, the goal is to keep blood pressure below 140/90. (For those with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, the goal would be 130/80.)
- Lose some weight. If you are overweight or obese, you can reduce your risk of health problems by losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight during the first year of treatment.
- Reduce sodium in your diet. Try to keep your daily intake below 1,500 mg per day. Watch out for some processed foods, such as baked goods, breakfast cereals, cakes and cookies – they make up 75 percent of the sodium in most diets.
- Eat plenty of potassium-rich foods. This nutrient can limit the effects of sodium. Good sources of potassium are sweet potatoes, spinach and other greens, bananas, mushrooms, raisins, dates, beans and peas. It's best to avoid potassium supplements or salt substitutes (which often contain potassium) without your doctor's approval. In general, follow a heart-healthy diet. A Mediterranean diet is recommended for a healthy heart. a diet that reduces sodium intake, focuses on fruits and vegetables, and reduces saturated fat; It is often recommended for people with high blood pressure.
- Good tips: Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day, brisk walking, running and swimming. Most days of the week. If you are new to exercise, consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.
- Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about support programs that can help.
- Take medications as prescribed. Because high blood pressure medications work in different ways, you may be prescribed more than one medication.
Controlling blood pressure is a challenging task. Diagnosis, most people are lifelong treatment. However, it reduces the risk of heart disease. In addition to complying with the health policy standard:
Eat as recommended without medical advice. Know the symptoms of high blood pressure. In most cases the condition is asymptomatic, in severe cases of high blood pressure, the person may experience ringing in the ears, dizziness, nosebleeds, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, drowsiness or confusion.
Antihypertensive drugs may help preserve cognitive function in people with high blood pressure. High blood pressure in middle age increases the likelihood of memory problems in old age, study shows. However, if treatment is started early, this risk can be reduced.
Being overweight and obese increases the risk of developing high blood pressure. This is especially true from youth to middle age. The study helped establish the link between high body mass index and high blood pressure.