Prevention of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, i.e. blood pressure >140/90 mmHg, affects nearly one-third of American adults aged 18 or older, which is approximately 67 million people in the US. High blood pressure is a life-threatening disease and if left untreated can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, and blindness.
Since, high blood pressure is a silent disease and shows no signs and symptoms, you need to visit your physician regularly to check your blood pressure levels as a preventive measure. You can also use a home monitoring device to check your blood pressure on a regular basis.
Be Alert: Pre-hypertension
According to the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on prevention, detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure (JNC 7), a new term known as pre-hypertension has been introduced for people whose systolic blood pressure ranges between 120–139 mmHg and/or diastolic between 80–89 mmHg.
Systolic blood pressure (Upper number): It is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats; Diastolic blood pressure (Lower number): It is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.
Pre-hypertension is a warning sign for risk of high blood pressure in individuals. After this diagnosis, you can take some steps to prevent or lower the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), which include:
- Be physically active
- Have healthy eating habits
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Maintain healthy weight
- Manage your stress levels
- Say no to smoking
- Sleep well
Be Physically Active
Regular physical activity is one of the important measures to prevent or control high blood pressure. It reduces your risk of heart diseases, high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, colon cancer, and other medical problems.
Brisk walking, bicycling, weight lifting, dancing, raking leaves, car washing, house cleaning, and gardening are the excellent sources of moderate-level activity. You can always begin by doing 30 minutes of exercise in your daily routine. Often you may find it hard to fit regular exercise into your busy lifestyle. Therefore you can follow these simple steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle:
- Take a 10 minute walk during your lunch break
- Don’t sit after a meal. Keep moving or take a brisk walk
- Park your car far so that you can walk more
- Perform stretching exercises while listening to some music
- Use stairs instead of an elevator
- Consult your doctor before you start with any moderate level activity, especially:
- If you have any family history of heart disease at an early age
- If you are 50 years or older
- If you had heart attack or any other heart problem
Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you are overweight or obese, then you are at a higher risk of having high blood pressure along with high blood cholesterol and diabetes. According to a study conducted on a large proportion of overweight persons, 10 lbs (4.5 kg) of weight loss reduces or prevents high blood pressure in individuals. To shed the extra pounds, you can combine DASH eating plan with regular activity, which prevents or reduces high blood pressure.