So, what is high blood pressure, and what can you do to prevent it? High blood pressure, also referred to as HBP or hypertension, is when the pressure of the blood flowing through your arteries is consistently too high. High blood pressure can lead to a variety of health problems in your lifetime and according to the American Heart Association (AHA) (1) , most people don’t even know they have it. Below, we will cover some of the causes of high blood pressure, and some of the ways to prevent it!
The contents in this blog is meant for informational use only. If you have any questions or concerns regarding high blood pressure, reaching out to your healthcare provider is the best thing.
What is High Blood Pressure?
As stated above, high blood pressure is when the force of blood flowing through your arteries is consistently too high in your system. There are a lot of factors that can that can lead to having HBP. Some of the more common culprits are: smoking, a high sodium diet, obesity, and high levels of stress. Though obesity and a poor diet tend to be overlapping contributors, you do not necessarily have to be obese to also have high blood pressure.
The good news is, a lot of these contributing factors are things you can take control of in your life! Here are some ways you can try to prevent high blood pressure.
What You Can Do To Prevent High Blood Pressure
There are a number of things you can do to try to prevent high blood pressure. As mentioned before, many of the things that will put you at a greater risk for having high blood pressure could be within your control. A few lifestyle changes can greatly lower your risk, or help your high blood pressure go down altogether.
One of the first things you can do to help lower the risk of high blood pressure is to keep a healthy diet. Obviously no one is perfect, and we all have different dietary wants and needs, so sometimes what works for someone else, may not work for you. The key is moderation and staying in control. Keeping a healthy diet filled with lots of non-processed snacks, and whole foods, can greatly benefit you in the long run.
Another dietary factor that can help decrease your risk of having HBP is low sodium intake. Having high levels of sodium in your diet is one of the main reasons people develop high blood pressure according to the AHA (2). Sodium can be found in more places than just the shaker on your table. High levels of sodium can often be found in foods with large amounts of preservatives or many deep fried items.
A major factor you can really take control of today to reduce your risk of high blood pressure is smoking. If you are not a smoker, continue to avoid this risk factor. If you are currently a smoker, consider consulting your doctor to discuss the options you have for trying to quit.
One of the more difficult factors that can impact your likelihood for developing high blood pressure is stress. Unfortunately stress is not always the easiest to manage and can often be a result of actions outside of your control. Though stress may be an inevitable part of life, there are a few ways you can help manage its toll on your body. Some possible stress reducing activities are running, yoga, meditation, reading, designated “me time”, taking a walk, breathing exercises, or journaling. Effective stress relief techniques can be different for everyone. Talk to your doctor and find out what might work best for you.
Why High Blood Pressure Matters for Heart Health Month
Having high blood pressure can cause your heart to have to work harder to function. This is one of the many reasons why trying to prevent high blood pressure matters for Heart Health Month. As stated above, many people don’t know that they have high blood pressure. In fact, HBP is referred to as one of the “silent killers” by the AHA (3). The longer high blood pressure is left untreated, the greater your risk becomes for a possible stroke or heart attack3. Because there are no major symptoms or signs of having high blood pressure, it is best to have your blood pressure checked regularly to ensure you are taking the right steps to stay healthy.
Dorsey Schools is a career training school in Michigan. Dorsey Schools trains students for new careers in fields such as healthcare. As a healthcare school, we aim to provide helpful information on healthcare related topics such as Heart Health Month.
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