Take a moment and remember back to that high school biology class when you learned about the hard-working, steadily beating heart pumping approximately 2,000 gallons of blood through the body each day. By age 70, your heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times. With all that work, it’s easy to see why taking care of it is so important and how extra heart work can add up to some long-term consequences.
What is Blood Pressure?
One of the simplest ways your doctor has to monitor the health of your heart is by measuring your blood pressure, the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. There are two numbers involved in calculating your blood pressure.
- Systolic: This is the first number measured and is the pressure in your arteries when the heart beats.
- Diastolic: This is the second number measured and is the pressure in your arteries between beats when the heart is resting.
Your blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day in response to daily life, but a normal blood pressure is measured when you are calm and quiet and falls somewhere below 120/80 mmHg.
The Risks with High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, called hypertension, is when the measurement of a person’s blood pressure is consistently above normal, even when resting and calm. While you may not experience any immediate symptoms from high blood pressure, over time, it is one of the leading causes for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
High blood pressure can develop over time without any warning symptoms. Left untreated, it can cause many health issues, including:
- Damage to important organs like the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
- Damage to arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases blood flow to the heart. Reduced blood flow to the heart can lead to heart disease, chest pain (angina), heart attack, and heart failure.
- Burst or blocked arteries to the brain which can lead to stroke.
- Increased risk of poorer cognitive function and dementia.
- Chronic kidney disease.
Managing High Blood Pressure
There are many simple lifestyle changes you can make that will help manage and reduce high blood pressure:
One hundred fifty minutes of activity a week may sound like a lot so let’s break it into a 30- minute walk each day instead. While the idea persists that only high-intensity exercise actually “counts” toward making a difference in overall health, this is, in fact, a myth. Research shows that a daily habit of walking has tremendous overall health benefits for your body, mind, and emotions.
Get outside, move your body, reduce your stress level, and enjoy some fresh air. Not a walker? Pick a different activity instead. Jogging, cycling, swimming, tennis, pickleball, and dancing are all great options. Find something that you enjoy and create a healthy habit. Consistent, regular exercise can lower your blood pressure five to eight mm Hg.
While smoking may be a hard habit to break, the overall health benefits are multifold and there are numerous helps out there to support breaking this habit.
Watch Your Diet
Increase your intake of healthy proteins, fiber, and healthy fats. Add in a variety of vegetables and reduce salt by using herbs instead. Keep the processed snacks to a minimum. While making diet changes can seem overwhelming, they can make a huge difference in your overall health and help lower your blood pressure by a whopping 11 mg Hg with consistent healthy food choices.
Keep a Healthy Weight
If you’re committed to physical activity and an overall healthy diet, you should see that healthy weight become manageable too. Your waistline is an indicator of carrying too much extra weight.
- Men are at risk if their waistline measures greater than 40 inches.
- Women are at risk if their waistline measures greater than 35 inches.
Weight loss is one of the most effective ways to help control blood pressure, and losing even a small amount can help reduce it. In general, with each 2.2 pound (1 Kg) of weight lost, blood pressure is reduced by one mm Hg.
Chronic stress can increase blood pressure, so here’s another reason for implementing strategies to help manage and reduce the stress you experience.
Talk With Your Doctor
Sometimes lifestyle changes are not enough, which is why regular checkups with your doctor are so important. If your blood pressure stubbornly remains high, your doctor may recommend medication to accompany your healthy lifestyle habits. A wide variety of medications are available so that your doctor can tailor a prescription for your specific blood pressure needs.
About Generations Home Care
Are you ready to make some changes in your daily habits and activities but need some support in getting there? Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.