Many people think high blood pressure (hypertension) is a “stress disease” – the result of overwork, no exercise, too many cocktail lunches, smoking, eating an unhealthy diet and other common but shortsighted behaviors. The truth is, such behaviors don’t cause hypertension but do increase your risk of developing it.
About 50 million people have hypertension, nearly half are women and the latest medical studies are suggesting that even adolescents are showing early signs of elevated blood pressure. Hypertension is called the “silent killer” because it usually has no symptoms. Many people live with hypertension for years without knowing it – this causes your heart to work harder, your arteries to take a beating, and your chances of a stroke, heart attack, kidney problems and blindness are greater.
Ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Pre-hypertension is a blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89. Hypertension is defined as a blood pressure of 140/90 and above. If one or both numbers are high, you have hypertension. Hypertension cannot be cured, but can be controlled and its effects can be prevented or reduced if treated and controlled early. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is key in reducing one’s risks.
Physical activity is one of the most important steps in preventing and controlling hypertension. Second, develop a healthy eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, and fish, with reduced amounts of fats, red meat, and sweets. These two important steps will help maintain a healthy weight. Blood pressure rises as body weight increases; losing 10 pounds has the greatest effect on lowering blood pressure for those who are overweight and already have hypertension. Avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol intake are also vital in keeping hypertension controlled.
Hypertension is a silent condition that steals health and foreshadows serious cardiovascular disease that can steal life. You can prevent and control hypertension by taking action – the only way to know is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. For further information about hypertension, please call Compassionate Healthcare Associates (661) 295-7777.
To become actively engaged in improving your health call Compassionate Healthcare Associates, (661) 295-7777.