Posted 09/22/2022 | 8:38 a.m
It pays to keep blood pressure under control
September is Healthy Aging Month, a time to celebrate life and the positive aspects of aging. Aging is often accompanied by an increased awareness of changing physical and mental health, dietary and social needs.Hillsborough County Aging Services The Nutrition and Wellness team have put together a variety of helpful topics to highlight what’s important for healthy aging.
We’ve all heard the phrase “ignorance is bliss,” but sometimes what we don’t know can hurt or even kill us. Such is the case with high blood pressure, which has no symptoms but poses a major risk of heart disease and stroke. Both diseases are the leading causes of death in the United States.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, and many don’t even know it. Hypertension occurs when the force of blood flowing through blood vessels is constantly too high.
Blood pressure (BP) depends on how much blood the heart is pumping and how much resistance there is to blood flow in the arteries. When the arteries narrow – whether it’s due to plaque build-up from an unhealthy diet or other problems – your blood pressure rises.
Your blood pressure is determined by measuring two types of pressure, expressed as upper and lower numbers. The top number, called systolic pressure, is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart is beating. The bottom number, called diastolic pressure, is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart is resting between beats. A blood pressure below 120/80 is considered normal, while a blood pressure of 130/80 or more is considered high. Scores above 180/120 represent a hypertensive crisis and require immediate medical attention.
The best way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. Most pharmacies have blood pressure monitors, and home devices are relatively inexpensive. Prevention is the best course of action and could help you avoid the need for medication.
Consider these ways to lower your blood pressure naturally
- Increase physical activity and get more exercise, with your doctor’s permission of course.
- lose weight if you are overweight; even 5 or 10 pounds can make a difference.
- Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates; This can also help with weight loss.
- Eat less sodium, which draws water into the blood vessels, increasing volume and pressure.
- Smoking causes an immediate rise in blood pressure; You will be healthier overall if you stop.
- Eating more potassium can relieve tension in your blood vessels and reduce the effects of salt.
- Reduce excessive stress by going for a walk, reading a book, listening to music, or meditating.
- Eat less processed foods, which make up most of the excess salt in your diet.
- Poor sleep increases your risk of high blood pressure; Sleep well!
Captions: Monitoring your blood pressure is easy with a home device.