Heart Health: How To Lower Your Risk For High Blood Pressure In Your 20S, 30S And 40S

Read some quick, common sense recommendations for how to reduce your odds of suffering hypertension at any age.

High blood pressure is often referred to as a silent killer. Recent estimates suggest that as many as one in three adults in the US may have high blood pressure without being aware of it, and the recommended blood pressure levels were recently revised to suggest that anyone with a pressure consistently at or above 140/90 may need to consider blood pressure medication.

If you have high blood pressure, or you know you're at risk of it, it's worth paying attention to the problem regardless of your age. Ignoring the problem may lead to damage of your internal organs or put you at increased risk of heart disease. Here are some suggestions of things you can do to reduce your risk at any age.

In your 20s

Your odds of having a heart attack in your 20s are relatively low, but it's not too early to start planning. Your best plan of action is to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Watch your saturated fats and your cholesterol level, and follow your doctor's recommendations for a healthy exercise regime. You may also wish to consider taking on a hobby such as yoga or tai chi; both are known to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. See a doctor and have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked once a year to stay on top of any potential problems before they develop.

In your 30s

At this point, you're hardly old and not exactly at high risk for a heart attack either, but you may not have as much wiggle room with your blood pressure as a 20-year-old. As recommended above, if you're not already eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, start doing it now! You may want to consider checking your blood pressure regularly with an at-home monitor - at least once or twice a week. If you notice a high trend, check with your doctor about a potential plan of action. If you develop high blood pressure while following a healthy lifestyle, your doctor may suggest going on antihypertensives.

In your 40s

Once you hit your 40s, you are in a higher risk zone for having a heart attack. If you have any of the risk factors for heart disease, it's wise to see your doctor regularly to keep tabs on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Your doctor will probably recommend antihypertensives as a first course of action if your pressure starts to creep up. At this age, it's probably wise to evaluate stressful factors in your lifestyle as well as continue to follow a balanced diet and get exercise, under your doctor's supervision. If you're working really long hours at the office, consider cutting back and being sure to balance any stress in your life with relaxing activities like meditation or sitting quietly and listening to music.

Regardless of your age, no one is going to take care of your heart for you. It's up to you to manage the risk factors in your life and be on the lookout for problems so that you can take action and see a doctor before serious issues develop. With something as irreplaceable as your life, why take chances?

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