Blood pressure is directly related to the speed and elasticity of the heart. If a heart is working too hard to supply a body with what it needs, high blood pressure is a concern.
What Do the Numbers Mean?
Blood pressure readings typically appear as fractions. The top number represents the
force at which a heart pumps blood out of the chambers. This is systolic pressure. A normal reading is less than 120, but if it is consistently higher than 129, Stage 1 of Hypertension is possible.
The second number is diastolic pressure and measures the pressure between heartbeats. An average number is less than 80 but a consistent higher reading is alarming.
Together these numbers work to paint an overall picture of heart health. If high blood pressure is uncontrolled veins, capillaries and arteries may be damaged and lead to heart attacks or strokes.
The only way to diagnose high blood pressure is to see a doctor. There is no “one size fits all” symptoms to indicate something is wrong. High blood pressure symptoms could include dizziness, continual headaches or sleeping difficulty. The only sign realistically evaluated is a risk factor. Certain people genetically have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. If you experience any of the following, you may be at risk.
- A family history of high blood pressure.
- Weakening blood vessel elasticity due to age.
- African-Americans have a higher rate of hypertension and medication is not as successful in treatment.
What You Should Do
In addition to having your blood pressure controlled by medication, there are preventative measures to do by yourself to be on the right track for heart health.
- Eat healthy
The USDA encourages balanced eating. Fats and oils should be used sparingly. Focus on fruits and vegetables. Choose healthy grains, fat-free milk, unprocessed cheese, and yogurt. Have protein such as eggs, chicken or fish, every day.
- Reduce sodium
Processed foods such as some cheeses, deli meats, and most boxed meals are notoriously high in sodium. Read labels. You may be surprised by the sodium contents. Avoid adding salt to food prepared at home or served in restaurants. Try using herbs to enhance flavor. Your heart will thank you.
- Reduce stress
Chronic stress is hard on your health. It is best to handle stressful situations as calmly as possible. Focus on the issue, decide which elements are controllable and develop a plan. Determine what is enjoyable, do it and relax. Compile a list of all you are grateful for in life. It is important to not lock in your stress.
Being active and keeping your blood moving has been scientifically proven to reduce high blood pressure. Exercising thirty minutes a day is what is recommended. Walking is the best exercise. Losing weight with a controlled diet also assists in lowering blood pressure.
- Bad Habits
If you smoke or drink several alcoholic drinks per day, it is time to consider cutting back or quitting altogether. Smoking is definitely detrimental to health, however, alcohol in moderation (1 drink a day) may even have benefits for a healthy heart.
A change in health is challenging and requires lifestyle changes. Eating healthier, exercising and minimizing stress may require a change in your daily routine. Bridge to Better Living understands the confusion accompanying a new health diagnosis. They are your best choice when considering a move to a better lifestyle.
Bridge to Better Living provides a fully trained staff steeped in health experience. They are confident they have the answers to your questions or concerns. Call us at 402-802-3301 to schedule a consultation now.