Can Hypertension Be Avoided?
High blood pressure (Hypertension) is a condition in which blood flows through the blood vessels with more pressure than normal. This can cause the heart to work harder, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. It is not something that you want to ignore because it can lead to serious medical problems if left untreated.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is high blood pressure, which is the force of blood pushing against your arteries. It can be measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The higher your blood pressure, the more likely you are to develop heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, if your systolic pressure is 130 or greater and/or your diastolic pressure is 85 or higher, you have hypertension.
What causes High Blood pressure?
The causes of high blood pressure can be divided into two categories: primary and secondary. The first is genetic, while the second includes lifestyle factors such as poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and lack of exercise.
Primary Causes of High Blood Pressure
The most common cause of high blood pressure is an inherited condition called essential hypertension (also known as primary or idiopathic). This type accounts for about 90% of all cases worldwide and typically develops at a younger age than secondary hypertension (see below). Essential hypertension occurs when your heart works harder than normal to circulate blood through your body because one or more arteries have narrowed due to plaque build-up. It’s also thought that possible causes could include hormone imbalances from certain medications or obesity.
What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?
- Overweight and obesity: People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of high blood pressure.
- High salt intake: Consuming too much sodium can raise your blood pressure. Salt is found naturally in food, but most of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods such as canned soups, frozen meals and ready-to-eat foods like pizza and pasta sauces. You don’t need to completely eliminate these types of foods from your diet, but you should try to limit them when possible so that you can follow a healthy eating plan that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables along with plenty of fiber.
- High alcohol intake: If you drink heavily on occasion (more than two drinks per day), you’re more likely to develop high blood pressure than someone who doesn’t drink at all or only drinks occasionally. However, moderate drinking — no more than one drink per day for women or two for men — does not seem to increase the risk of developing high blood pressure or make it worse if you already have it.
- High caffeine intake: More than 400 milligrams (mg) per day may increase your risk for developing high blood pressure in some people — especially those who are under age 45; those who use caffeine regularly; those who drink coffee or tea before bedtime; or pregnant women younger than 18 years old.
Who is more at risk of developing high blood pressure?
If you’re of African or Caribbean descent, have a family history of high blood pressure or are over the age of 50, your risk is higher than average. Other factors that increase your risk include being overweight, inactive or smoking as well as having diabetes and high cholesterol levels. When it comes to diet and lifestyle factors, research has shown that cutting back on salt intake slightly lowers systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 1-2 mmHg. This isn’t much but it may reduce the chance of developing heart disease by 5%. Eating more potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables can also help lower blood pressure because they balance out dietary sodium (salt). Alcohol consumption is another factor that influences hypertension risk: heavy drinkers should limit their intake to just one drink per day if they want to keep their blood pressure under control.
Can I prevent high blood pressure?
Yes, you can prevent high blood pressure. Here’s how:
- Eat a healthy diet. Avoid foods that are high in sodium (salt) and fat, including red meat and deep-fried foods. Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; they’re good sources of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure levels.
- Exercise regularly. Even if you’re not an avid exerciser now, even mild exercise such as walking can help lower your systolic (top number) blood pressure by 4 mm Hg or more over time, reports the American Heart Association (AHA). Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week; if 30 minutes seems too long, try getting up from your desk periodically during the workday to walk around at a slow pace before returning to work again!
- Reduce stress in your life: Stress is strongly linked with heart disease—including hypertension—so do what works best for you when it comes to reducing its effects on your body: meditate every morning while drinking coffee outside before heading into work? Or maybe reading a book before bed? Whatever it takes! Just make sure it works well enough where you feel relaxed after doing so instead of overwhelmed by all the things waiting ahead during tomorrow’s full day 🙂
How can I prevent high blood pressure for myself?
The following steps can help you prevent high blood pressure:
- Reduce the amount of salt in your diet. The recommended daily limit for sodium is 2,300 mg per day. To reduce your intake of sodium, avoid processed foods and buy fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead of canned products.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
- Exercise regularly to lower stress levels and increase circulation throughout your body. Walking at least 30 minutes a day will help improve heart health while reducing total cholesterol levels by 10 percent to 15 percent over time, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you are able to commit more time to exercise each week (60 minutes five days per week), further improvements can be made in lowering total cholesterol levels by 25 percent within two months’ time; however this is not necessary for most people who simply want to improve their overall health status by losing weight or becoming more physically active on a regular basis
High blood pressure (Hypertension) can be controlled.
You can avoid high blood pressure by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may help lower your blood pressure. Regular physical activity helps keep blood pressure under control.
Avoiding alcohol, stress, and tobacco products may also play a role in preventing hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about taking steps that might help to reduce it or control it so that you can live longer and better!
High blood pressure is a serious medical condition that can lead to heart disease and stroke. It is important to monitor your blood pressure regularly and work with your doctor to find the best treatment for yourself. The risk of hypertension can be reduced through lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, quitting smoking if you smoke cigarettes and staying at a healthy weight by maintaining an appropriate body mass index (BMI).