The name is kind of fancy, but blood pressure is simply the pressure that the blood makes against the walls of the arteries as it travels from our heart to the rest of the body. It is normal for your blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day, and it happens due to several factors.
But when the pressure stays high for a long time, it can compromise the heart and cause many health issues. High blood pressure is known as hypertension, a condition that many have without even knowing it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hypertension is as silent as it is worrying: 47 percent of the U.S. adults (something around 116 million people) have been diagnosed with hypertension, yet only one in four adults has their condition under control or takes medication.
When was the last time you checked your blood pressure? Take a look at the key information you need to find out if you’re part of the risk group for developing hypertension.
What Causes It?
A person’s blood pressure can go up and down throughout the day influenced by external factors. When the pressure rises too much, these can be the main culprits:
- Unhealthy eating habits (such as high levels of salt, fat, and/or cholesterol)
- Sedentarism (or, to make it simple, the lack of physical activity)
- Excessive consumption of tobacco and/or alcohol
- Old age
- Being overweight
- Chronic health conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol
- Documented cases of hypertension in your family
- Some birth control medicines
- Stress and anxiety
If you identify with two or more of the above, you should start checking your blood pressure more regularly to identify unexpected changes. After all, the symptoms of hypertension can be practically invisible.
Can It Be Avoided or Prevented?
First of all, there are two types of high blood pressure: the primary, which is the most common and is linked to your lifestyle, and the secondary, which is caused by another health condition or maybe some medication you take.
If the increase in pressure is caused by the lifestyle you lead, just change your habits to prevent the worsening of your condition. In other words, exercise, adopt a healthy diet, quit smoking, reduce salt consumption, etc.
But some of the main factors behind high blood pressure cannot be so easily avoided and you may need your doctor’s help in figuring out the best way to manage the condition.
If the rises in blood pressure are being caused by some other disease or by a medication you take regularly, talk to your doctor to find an alternative to keep your blood pressure under control.
If you find it really difficult to quit smoking or reduce alcohol consumption, seek help in treatment centers. If you have a dependency on drugs like benzodiazepines, look into benzodiazepine treatment in Boston, Massachusetts, or the nearest city. Managing these addictions can help take any extra stress off your body.
Living With It
So you sought medical help and had a diagnosis of hypertension. Do not despair: it’s not the end of the world, but you will need to manage.
One of the habits you should adopt is to have regular blood pressure checks to ensure that it is stable. If your high blood pressure is secondary, you may have to take medication to control it from now on. If not, a few changes to your lifestyle should do the trick.
It’s not necessary to make an appointment with your doctor every week, but you may feel more comfortable checking your blood pressure regularly at home or a pharmacy near you. The important thing is to keep an eye on it so that the condition doesn’t get worse.
Your Heart Deserves the Best Care
Heart disease and strokes are now considered the leading causes of death in the U.S. According to 2020 data, more than 670,000 of these deaths had high blood pressure as the main cause (or at least it contributed to aggravating a pre-existing condition).
As hypertension develops silently and invisibly, with no easily identifiable symptoms, it’s essential that anyone with unhealthy lifestyle habits, or any chronic condition that can facilitate an increase in blood pressure, ensure that everything is under control with their blood pressure. After all, the heart is one of the most precious parts of your body and you want it to keep working perfectly for many, many years to come.