One of the most problematic chronic conditions in the United States is high blood pressure. Almost one-third of all Americans suffer from high blood pressure, a condition that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
What happens is, over time, high blood pressure can weaken blood vessels and lead to hardened, narrowed arteries. When a blood clot forms, instead of having the space to move through the vessels, it can cut off the flow of blood, creating a dangerous situation.
Those suffering from the condition could experience a stroke when blood flow to the brain is inhibited, or a heart attack when blood flow to the heart is cut off.
We have created a guide to help those with high BP know what to do.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure comes from two sources. The first, systolic, measures the force at which the heart pushes blood into the circulatory system. Diastolic pressure measures the resting of the heart between beats.
A high blood pressure reading indicates that the heart works too hard to push blood through the body. The heart and vessels also work less efficiently.
Damage occurs when blood forced through vessels at unnaturally high rates damages and weakens their walls.
High BP? What You Can Do
We have described a few ways to help manage high blood pressure on your own.
Experts agree that obesity and high blood pressure often walk hand in hand. Larger bodies with higher fat reserves put additional strain on the circulatory system.
Luckily, losing weight can often serve as the most effective way to drop your blood pressure back into a normal range.
Walk and Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can provide multiple benefits in the fight against high blood pressure. First, it can lead to weight loss, which has an immediate beneficial effect.
Regular exercise, specifically walking, strengthens the heart and promotes more efficient blood flow. This helps the heart develop ways to pump blood more effectively while reducing the chance of damage to blood vessels.
Experts advise that walking as little as 30 minutes per day or 75 minutes of strenuous exercise per week can lower your blood pressure.
Reduce Salt Intake
The effect of sodium on blood pressure is different for each individual. Some have a higher genetic predisposition toward high blood pressure if they regularly eat too much salt.
Reducing salt to healthy levels could have a strong impact on lowering blood pressure.
Consider replacing processed and other high salt foods with fresh, natural, or low salt alternatives.
Eat More Potassium
As industrialized societies ate more salt over the last century with processed foods, many people consumed less potassium as they ate less fresh fruits and veggies.
Those looking to make their diet healthier should concentrate on adding potassium. Potassium helps the body to rid itself of excess sodium. It also helps to reduce the instance of cramping in physically active individuals.
Nuts, seeds, beans, milk, yogurt, and bananas are only a few of the many sources of this important mineral.
NOTE: Please consult with your doctor before starting a regimen of potassium supplementation.
Drink Less Alcohol
Over one in 10 people who suffer from high blood pressure also drink too much alcohol.
Light to moderate consumption of alcohol can have the effect of lowering blood pressure, but stay mindful of the definition of moderate. This means one drink per day for women and two for men.
Also, some alcohol choices, such as beer, contain a lot of calories and other substances that could balance off the heart-healthy aspects.
More than three drinks temporarily raises blood pressure. Consistent heavy drinking can make the elevated pressure a permanent problem.
Reach Out Today
Call us today to learn more about how 120/Life and a healthy diet and lifestyle can contribute to better blood pressure and a healthier heart.