High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common and important health issue among adults with few to no symptoms that can bring plenty of serious health conditions like dementia, kidney and heart problems, eye issues, and many more.
Typically, people suffering from high blood pressure can go years unnoticed; which is why is so important to start its early detection and control.
What is high blood pressure?
Anatomically speaking, blood pressure is a normal process that happens when our heart pumps the blood through our veins. The pressure that blood causes in our arteries can be low blood pressure, normal blood pressure, or high blood pressure, and can change throughout the day (1).
Blood pressure is recorded by 2 numbers: the systolic pressure which is the one made by each time our heart beats, and the diastolic pressure, the one that happens between beats when our heart rests (2).
Then, high blood pressure is considered when your readings are 140/90mmHg or higher. Nonetheless, if you frequently present readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg you can be at risk of developing high blood pressure if you don’t take the actions to control it (3).
Additionally, there are two types of high blood pressure to take into consideration, primary and secondary:
- Primary: or essential blood pressure, it is the one that most adults develop, and it usually presents when we get older
- Secondary: this type of high blood pressure is caused by an illness or medicine and usually improves when the trigger is treated – whether is a health condition or a medication -.
Causes of high blood pressure
This condition is also known as ¨the silent killer¨, does not always count with a clear cause; nonetheless, it can also have several risk factors.
Some of them are (4):
- Being overweight
- Having a high salt intake
- Not eating balanced – there are not many fruits and vegetables in your diet –
- You drink too much alcohol, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages
- You smoke
- You have sleeping issues
- Men tend to have a higher risk to develop high blood pressure before the age of 55, while women tend to have a greater risk after menopause
- You have a relative with high blood pressure
- You are black African, the black Caribbean, or descent from them
- Some health conditions such as thyroid problems, diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome can also cause high blood pressure appearance
- Moreover, high blood pressure can appear during pregnancy
- The lack of physical activity and poor dietary choices can also increase the risk of suffering from high blood pressure
High blood pressure symptoms
As we mentioned earlier, high blood pressure may not manifest signs symptoms for years; however, here are some high blood pressure symptoms that will indicate that you should check your tension or go to see a doctor (5):
- Fatigue or confusion
- Excessive headaches
- Sudden nosebleed
- Irregular heartbeat
- Vision problems
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding sensation in your ears, neck, or chest
Conversely, there are other signs that people often believe are related to high blood pressure, but they might be the sign of other conditions to be ruled out in medical consultation:
- Trouble sleeping
- Blood spots in the eyes
- Facial flushing
How can you prevent high blood pressure naturally?
As you may know by now, even though that high blood pressure tends to be more prone to age, there are several factors that you can control to avoid suffering from high blood pressure (6):
1. Keep a healthy weight
Being obese or overweight can increase greatly your risk of developing high blood pressure. Check your body mass index (BMI) with the help of a physician and follow his advice to get your ideal weight.
2. Eat balanced
Eating a balanced diet filled with fruits, protein, grains, vegetables, dairy, and oils can both help you to lose weight and aid to keep your blood pressure at healthy levels.
Exercising – even a moderate-intensity activity – can lower your blood pressure effectively. Practice some sports like swimming or brisk walking for at least 2.5 hours a week.
You can also bicycle 30 minutes a day, for at least five days of the week to get the desired results.
4. Add more heart-healthy products to your diet
Eating more omega 3 fatty acids in your daily meals, including olive oil and food rich in potassium and fiber can help you to avoid high blood pressure and its harmful complications.
5. Cut down on salt
Reducing your salt intake is crucial to keep your blood pressure in control because as we start getting older, our bodies and blood pressure become more sensitive to it. Additionally, the salt added to your meals compounds with processed foods, and meats, which is why is so important to keep those details in check.
6. Reduce your alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine intake
Drinking alcohol may increase the risk of suffering from high blood pressure. Furthermore, smoking tobacco not only increases the chances of having high blood pressure but also developing some other health issues such as heart disease and stroke.
On the other hand, caffeine alters your blood vessels' response (7). This is why is so important to limit the consumption of all of them if you desire to enjoy good health even in your golden years.
7. Manage your stress levels
Chronic stress can cause sleep issues (8), anxiety, and many more physical and mental issues that put you at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.
Coping with your stress will make you enjoy your life better since it will aid you to sleep and have emotional wellness.
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