Prevent High Blood Pressure

Prevent high blood pressure the silent killer. Read on to find out more.

What causes high blood pressure and can it be prevented? First, let's define blood pressure. Blood pressure is defined as the pressure exerted by the blood against the blood vessels. Easy enough, right? This pressure of the blood pumping through the viens and arteries, (viens pump blood, with the action of the heart, to the heart and arteries pump oxyegenated blood to the body), causes the pressure. When the pressure is too high or too low, there is a problem.

Everyone has heard of a blood pressure reading such as 130/80, for example. You may even know what your blood pressure runs. There are even electronic machines today that can take you blood pressure right in the comfort of your own home. Blood pressure is written in two numbers, the top is called the systolic and the bottom is called the diastolic. A blood pressure above 140 systolic and above 90 diastolic, is considered high.

If a person has a consistently high blood pressure, they are usually diagnosed with hypertension. The exact cause of hypertension is not known, but there are several known contributing factors that come into play, such as heredity, smoking, alcohol, clogged arteries, eating too much salt, obesity, and stress. High blood pressure effects men and women of all races. Generally it is more prevelent in blacks, in older people, say 50 and above and more common in men, until women reach menopause, then it is equally common in both sexes.

The symptoms of hypertension, or high blood pressure are:

-often there are no symptoms. Now you know why it is called "The Silent Killer".

-when the pressure is high, patients often complain of a headache. A hypertension headache is described as a dull, and/or heavy feeling or pressure or headache, usually on top of the head.

-when pressure is high, it can cause visual disturbances, such as blurred vision.

-high blood pressure can cause strokes and heart attacks and kidney failure.

Treatment of hypertension first requires diagnosis of the problem. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or if you have taken your blood pressure, and it is high, based on what we defined as high, see your doctor immediately. Do not play around with high blood pressure. It is a killer. If blood pressure is considered, early or mild, what some people refer to as borderline, it can be treated with changes in diet and lowering sodium or eliminating it, exercise and weight reduction. Diuretics may be prescribed, which rid the body of excess fluid, or swelling, taking pressure off of the kidneys. Taking diuretics doe not eliminate the need to cut back on the salt. Natural diuretics include: coffee or tea, because of the caffine, watermelon, lettuce, celery, canteloupe and water, just to name a few. If hypertension is more severe or persistant, a prescription antihypertensive medication will be prescribed. It is of utmost importance that your hypertension medication be taken according to the doctor's instructions and never stopped without consulting your doctor. Some blood pressure medications have side effects. Some people say that their blood pressure medicine makes them feel worse, not better, but this is deceiving. You can feel just fine and your blood pressure can be sky high, so you can still have a stroke or heart attack while sitting there, feeling just fine.

There is no cure for hypertension. But there are ways that you can prevent or reduce high blood pressure. Here is a short list:

-Reduce or eliminate your intake of sodium (salt). Save the salt shakers and the box, too! Also, not just saving the salt shaker. There are alot of foods out there very high in sodium that you must reduce or eliminate such as processed meats (bologna, hot dogs), canned meats, canned vegetables, anything canned because salt is used as a preservative. Fresh and frozen anything is much healthier and less sodium. There are canned things that say lower sodium, but you will pay more. Pickled anything, including pickles, ketchup, V-8,(although it is extremely healthy, is loaded with sodium, Chinese food, baking soda, are all loaded with sodium. Read the labels!!

-Exercise regularly. Studies prove this lowers blood pressure, because it is stress reduction and helps to lose weight.

-Lose weight. For every ten pounds you lose, you reduce your diastolic blood pressure by two to three points.

-Quit smoking. Smoking causes the blood pressure to go up and stay up.

-Limit or eliminate alcohol. No more than two a day.

-Eating enough potassium, calcium and magnesium may help lower blood pressure. Foods high in these minerals include: dairy products, seafood, green leafy vegetables, fish, fruits and whole grains.

-Relax, destress!

-Eat less fat to reduce atherosclerosis which can lead to hypertension by hardening the arteries.

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