You’ve heard it before and you probably know by now that high blood p ressure (hypertension) is bad news for your he alth.Not only does it put extra strain on your heart and blood vessels, leading to weaker or damaged vessels, but it can affect your body in a number of ways. If you have other health conditions, such as diabetes or high chole sterol, this increases your risk of health problems even more.
Fact: The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of serious health problems in the future.
High blood pressure can affect your body in a numbe r of ways:
• Your heart: High blood pressure can cause you to have a heart attack. It can also cause heart failure.
• Your brain: High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke s. It has also been closely linked to some forms of dementia.
• Your kidneys: Hypertension can cause kidney disease.
• Your limbs: It can also cause peripheral arterial disease, which can affect your legs.
What is a normal blood pressure?
When your doctor or clinic nurse takes your blood pressure, it’s expressed as a measurement with two numbers, with one number on top (systolic) and one on the bottom (diastolic), like a fraction. For example, 120/80 mm Hg.
The top number refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. This is called systolic pressure. The bottom number refers to your blood pressure whe n your heart muscle is be tween beats. This is called diastolic pressure. Both numbers are important in determining the state o f your heart health. Numbers greater than the ideal range indicate that your heart is working too hard to pump blood to the rest of your body.
For a normal reading, your blood pressure nee ds to show a top numbe r (systolic pressure) that’s between 90 and less than 120 and a bottom number (diastolic pressure) that’s between 60 and less than 80. It’s important to note that age does affect these numbers slightly but this is the ge neral rule of thumb.
How do I know if I have high blood pressure?
Generally, people with high blood pressure experience no symptoms at all, which is why it’s so dangerous. This means that people with high blood pressure can have damage occuring to their heart, kidneys, eyes, and circulation without feeling sick at all!
However, in people with uncomplicated high blood pressure, they may experience:
• Blurred vision
• Shortness of breath
What can I do to keep my blood pressure in check?
• Eat healthily
That means cut down on your salt intake, avoid processed foods and watch that alcohol consumption.
• Watch you weight
If you are overweight or obese your risks of high blood pre ssure and heart disease are far higher. Have your Body Mass Index (BMI) monitored to make sure your weight is within normal levels.
• Exercise more
Cardio is your friend so ge t your heart pumping at least three times a week.
There are genetic factors that can play a role in your blood pre ssure and cholesterol levels even if you are fit and healthy, so use your Resolution He alth Preventative Care benefits to keep a watchful eye on these important areas of your health.
If all else fails and you are diagnose d with high blood pressure, it’s essential that you take the prescribed medication regularly. In too many case s patients stop taking their me dication without consulting their doctor and are put at risk of heart attack, stroke and other health concerns.