Do You Have Hypertension?
Hypertension? While it may sound familiar, you are probably more familiar with the synonymous term – high blood pressure. Hypertension and high blood pressure are two terms for the same condition, a condition that is among the leading causes of heart disease worldwide. This means if you have been diagnosed with hypertension, you want to take the necessary steps to treat it. If you aren’t sure, but lead a lifestyle filled with stress, unhealthy eating, and little to know exercise, you are likely at risk. The good news is lifestyle changes can help you avoid the dangers of hypertension. Let’s learn more about hypertension, the causes, the symptoms, and how you can avoid it.
Causes of Hypertension
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a very common condition. Interestingly enough, its causes are well-known, and it is preventable. Generally, healthy blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. Hypertension is then defined as blood being constantly pumped through the heart with so much force the result is blood pressure above this level. High blood pressure is often without symptoms, particularly at the onset. For this reason, medical research had identified common causes which are more easily identified. They include smoking, drinking to excess, obesity, stress, lack of physical activity, high salt consumption, sleep apnea, lack of sleep, age, and genetics (a family history of hypertension).
Symptoms of Hypertension
You have probably heard high blood pressure labeled as the silent killer by the American Heart Association. The reason behind the nickname – the lack of identifiable symptoms. The good news is high blood pressure can be easily diagnosed by your physician. All it takes is blood pressure monitoring to determine if you have hypertension, before you experience major symptoms.
Lowering Your Blood Pressure
You’ve probably heard from friends and family that stress is a leading cause of high blood pressure. It’s true, but stress isn’t the only cause. Hypertension also correlates with how little you exercise as well as your diet. Now, everyone knows stress is not easy to control, but diet and exercise are within your grasp and can have a major positive impact on your blood pressure.
Becoming more active can be as simple as taking a short walk and working up to longer intervals, or taking a swim at the local gym, or even parking a longer distance from your errand stops or taking the stairs at work. As you become more active, you’ll feel better and find it easier to work a regular exercise regime into your daily routine.
Eating, that is your daily diet, can also play a huge factor in controlling your blood pressure. Just like with exercise and activity, what you eat in in your power to control. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet is a great place to start. The dietary guidelines include:
- Lowering your salt intake to under 2400 mg of sodium every day (this may mean switching out canned foods for healthier frozen options and avoiding other foods that are high in salt).
- Eating foods which contain high levels of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These minerals can help lower your blood pressure.
- Cut down on the fats in your diet, especially trans fats and saturated fats.
- Lower your alcohol consumption.
Knowing stress is often out of your control, exercise and diet can be controlled and managed by you. Exercising on a regular basis, even it just walking more, is a good start, as is choosing foods which can help you lower your blood pressure and avoid the risks associated with hypertension.