1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure or hypertension and don't know it, are you one of those people?
High blood pressure is a common health condition. The long term force of blood against the walls of your arteries can be high enough that is causes heart problems and heart disease.
Blood pressure is determined by 2 things: the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries.The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
Can you have high blood pressure without symptoms? Yes you can, some people have high blood pressure for years and don't know it. But, the damage to your health and body still occurs even if you don't have any symptoms. Scary huh?
Make sure you know your numbers!
How do we manage high blood pressure?
Understanding the numbers: Helpful information in this cool infographic.
So you have high blood pressure and the doctor just put you on medication...not the end of the world, I take mediation for blood pressure too.... many common medicine classes are listed below. It takes time for your medicine and lifestyle changes to work, be patient.
Risk Factors via the Mayo Clinic
High blood pressure has many risk factors, including:
Age. The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age. Through early middle age, or about age 45, high blood pressure is more common in men. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after age 65.
Race. High blood pressure is particularly common among blacks, often developing at an earlier age than it does in whites. Serious complications, such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure, also are more common in blacks.
Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in families.
Being overweight or obese. The more you weigh the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls.
Not being physically active. People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. The higher your heart rate, the harder your heart must work with each contraction and the stronger the force on your arteries. Lack of physical activity also increases the risk of being overweight.
Using tobacco. Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily, but the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow, increasing your blood pressure. Secondhand smoke also can increase your blood pressure.
Too much salt (sodium) in your diet. Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
Too little potassium in your diet. Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. If you don't get enough potassium in your diet or retain enough potassium, you may accumulate too much sodium in your blood.
Too little vitamin D in your diet. It's uncertain if having too little vitamin D in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. Vitamin D may affect an enzyme produced by your kidneys that affects your blood pressure.
Drinking too much alcohol. Over time, heavy drinking can damage your heart. Having more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may affect your blood pressure.
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
Stress. High levels of stress can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure. If you try to relax by eating more, using tobacco or drinking alcohol, you may only increase problems with high blood pressure.
Certain chronic conditions. Certain chronic conditions also may increase your risk of high blood pressure, such as kidney disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.
Sometimes pregnancy contributes to high blood pressure, as well.
Changing your lifestyle can go a long way toward controlling high blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend you eat a healthy diet with less salt, exercise regularly, quit smoking and maintain a healthy weight. But sometimes lifestyle changes aren't enough.
Medications are commonly prescribed for those with hypertension. No matter what medications you are put on, lifestyle changes have to be made to lower your blood pressure.
Important lifestyle changes include:
- Diet changes : lower salt intake, heart healthy choices
- Stop Smoking, a very important health change
- Exercise daily, get off the couch and move
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Maintain a healthy weight for your age, loose weight if you are obese