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One of the most common medical conditions amongst Americans is high blood pressure (HBP). More and more people around the world are being diagnosed with this condition as well.
It isn’t uncommon anymore for a person in their 30s or 40s to be prescribed high blood pressure medication either. In decades past, hypertension was something that a person didn’t have to worry about until their 50s or 60s.
Because HBP can lead to other serious circulatory conditions, it’s imperative to know the causes and signs of high blood pressure – and to know what you can do to lower it on your own.
What Is High Blood Pressure? Why Does It Lead to Heart Disease?
What is hypertension? Also known as high blood pressure and hypertension, it is a condition in which the force of your blood against your blood vessel walls is constantly high.
Your heart pushes blood out through the blood vessels, delivering oxygenated blood to all of your tissues and organs.
With each beat of your heart, the blood is pushed through your circulatory system. That push, or pressure is needed to pump blood out of the heart.
When you get your blood pressure checked at the doctor’s office, your doctor is looking for two readings: Your systolic pressure and diastolic pressure.
The systolic pressure is that which pushes the blood out of the heart. The diastolic reading is created with the heart rests after each beat.
When the blood pressure is too high, it can lead to heart disease and even a heart attack.
How does this happen?
This constant high pressure causes strain on the heart. The resulting damage causes coronary arteries to narrow, especially if there’s a buildup of fat and cholesterol. This buildup is known of as plaque, which can slowly harden over time, resulting in blockages and higher risk of blood clots.
If an artery is blocked by plaque or a clot, it doesn’t receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs. Over time, that part of the heart tissue will die, causing a heart attack.
What Causes High Blood Pressure? Risk Factors to Be Aware Of
In order to prevent a heart attack, you need to know what causes high blood pressure in the first place.
While researchers don’t know the exact cause, they do point out that there are certain risk factors that can lead to high blood pressure.
- Adrenal disorders
- Thyroid disorders
- Kidney disease
- Too much sodium in the diet
- Not enough exercise
- Too much alcohol in the diet
- Sleep apnea.
It’s important that you have your blood pressure checked regularly by your physician to check for hypertension. This isn’t something you can just keep an eye on and watch for signs of high blood pressure at home before contacting your doctor.
Unfortunately, most people don’t experience any signs of high blood pressure, even if their blood pressure is at dangerously high levels.
2 Very Important Steps to Take Today to Lower and Control Your Blood Pressure
Thankfully, there are things you can do on your own to lower your blood pressure. Give these a try and you might be able to lower your risk of hypertension even without HBP medication.
1. Eat a Nutrient-Dense, Heart-Healthy Diet
Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat a minimal amount of meat, particularly red meat. Limit your fat consumption to mono or polyunsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats.
2. Get Plenty of Exercise, Preferably on a Daily Basis
Do All You Can Now to Have a Healthier Future
Some people think that as we get older, we’re inevitably doomed to heart disease. It is, after all, the leading cause of death in the U.S.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do something about it.
While all of us will get sick and leave this world at some point, that doesn’t mean that we can’t live a healthy and happy existence right now.
When people think of HBP, most of the time their main concern is dying from a heart attack. But even if you don’t have a heart attack – or have one and survive – you experience some form of damage to the heart muscle.
This can lead to loss of energy and being susceptible to future heart disease. And a lot of the medications prescribed for heart problems have side effects.
These side effects can leave you feeling exhausted and weak. This level of physical tiredness can make it difficult to do extracurricular things you once loved. Living a life that’s simply made up of work and sleep can get old and depressing very quickly.
Taking control of your health now doesn’t just mean preventing a heart attack. It means doing all you can to ensure that you have a high quality of life throughout your senior years.