What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure also known as hypertension happens when the heart has to work too hard to pump blood through the blood vessels. Think of your blood vessels like a garden hose, there are several things that can change the pressure of the water moving through the hose like a kink in the hose or changing the amount of water running through the hose. Like the water pressure in the hose there are different factors that can affect your blood pressure.
What are the Risks of High Blood Pressure?
- Damage to your blood vessels
- Heart Attack or Heart Failure
- Damage to your Kidneys
- Changes in Cognitive Abilities leading to Dementia
- Damage to your eyes
What Can I Do to Help Reduce My Risk?
- Regular Check-ups: You health care provider will monitor your blood pressure and may prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure which will help reduce your risks listed above.
- Weight loss: Blood pressure usually increase with weight gain, while losing weight can help control your blood pressure.
- Exercise: Excercising can lead to a decrease in blood pressure. If you have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.
- Reduce Sodium Intake: Sodium causes fluid retention which increase blood pressure. Limit sodium to 2,300mg a day by reading food labels.
- Follow the DASH Diet: Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products can lower your blood pressure.
- Quit Smoking: Work with a health care provider to find ways to help you quit.
Description of high blood pressure. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp.
HIgh Blood Pressure. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045868?pg=2
Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure with Dash Diet. National Heart,Lung and Blood institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/dash_brief.pdf