High blood pressure (HBP) or Hypertension, also sometimes called arterial hypertension, is a chronical medical condition in which the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood, is elevated. It requires the heart yo work harder than normal to circulate blood through the blood vessels. It is a serious condition than can lead to conorary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kindeny failure and other health problems, damaging the body in many ways.
High blood pressure is called “the silent killer” because the condition itself usually causes no signs or symptoms. That means one can have it for years without even knowning it and during this time HBP can damage the heart, blood vessels and other parts of the body.
Knowing your blood pressure numbers is very important, even when you feel fine. If your blood pressure is normal you can work to keep it that way. If your blood pressure is high, treatment may help prevent damages to your body’s organs.
How can I control my high blood pressure?
Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle may help you avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication that manage HBP.
– Lose extra pounds: As weight increases, blood pressure usually increases as well. Losing 10 pounds (4,5 kilograms) could help reduce your blood pressure. The more weight you lose, the lower your blood pressure. Losing weight also makes blood pressure medications more effective. Talk to your doctor and you can determine together your target weight and the best way to achieve it.
– Exercise, exercise, exercise: Regular physical activity – 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week – can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). If you have not been active, increasing your exercise level can reduce your blood pressure within just a few weeks. Talk to your doctor and develop an exercise program. Please, avoid being a “weekend warrior”. Squeezing all your exercise during the weekends is not a good strategy. Those bursts of activity could be really risky.
– Reduce sodium in your diet: You don’t have to overdo it. Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can lower blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.
- ·- Limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less.
- ·- A lower sodium level – 1,500 mg a day or less – is appropriate for people 51 years of age or older, and people of any age who are African-American or who have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
- ·Keep a food diary to estimate how much sodium is in what you eat and drink every day.
- ·Read food lebels and choose low-sodium alternatives to the foods and beverages you usually ourchase.
- ·Eat fewer processed foods. Potato chips, frozen dinners and bacon are high in sodium.
- ·Stop adding salt. One teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. You can use herbs or spices instead of salt, in order to add flavor to your foods.
– Easy with the alcohol: Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg. But that does not apply if you drink too much – more than one drink per day for women and men older than age 65, or more than two drinks per day fro men aged 65 and younger. If you don;t normally drink alcohol, then you shouldn’t start it as a way to reduce your blood pressure. It is more likely to harm yourself than benefit to drinking alcohol.
– Get support: Talk to your family and friends about the risks of high blood pressure. They can help you improve your health. They may encourage you to take better care of yourself, or join you on an exercise programme to lower your blood pressure. If you think you need support beyond your family and friends, you can always join a support group.