Hypertension affects approximately 1 out of every 3 Americans, making it one of the most common medical conditions in the United States. More commonly referred to simply as high blood pressure, it is a leading cause of mortality in elderly men and women. Because being affected by this condition puts you at an increased risk for stroke, heart attack and peripheral artery disease, it is important to learn how to manage it properly before it results in potentially life-threatening complications.
Blood pressure is considered unhealthily elevated when the diastolic number, or the one on top of the equation, is higher than 140 and the systolic number, or the figure on the bottom, is above 90. Most people affected by hypertension do not experience any symptoms until the condition has reached a dangerous level. When symptoms do appear, they are usually limited to bouts of dizziness, increased frequency of nose bleeds, and a persistent but dull headache.
Managing blood pressure begins with talking to your doctor about your options. Depending on your age, the severity of your condition and any other medical problems you might have, it may be necessary to take a variety of medications to keep the problem under control.
Not everyone with HBP must be treated with medications. Certain lifestyle changes can save lives as well. Talk with your doctor about how smart changes to your diet and exercise regimen could possibly help keep your systolic and diastolic numbers in the healthy range. Even 30 to 60 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise three or four times per week could reduce your chances of developing HBP. If you’re overweight, losing the extra pounds can be incredibly beneficial, especially if you are already at risk. In addition, people who drink alcohol and eat a diet high in salt are more likely to be diagnosed with this condition, so limiting both of these things is a good idea as well.
Getting enough sleep at night and engaging in regular stress relief activities can have an immense effect as well. Many people suffering from hypertension find that daily meditation, yoga, swimming, walking, and massage therapy help them relax and keep their condition in check. Individuals who are less stressed are at a significantly lower risk of heart attack and tend to be happier in general.