6 Things You Can Do to Prevent High Blood Pressure



 
High blood pressure is a serious and preventable condition. Every February, Americans are reminded to have their blood pressure checked because it is American Heart Month. You can have your heart checked anytime of the year, but designating a month has served as not only a reminder but as a notice that your health is important and that includes a healthy heart. Particularly important as you age because blood pressure raises as you get older.

Approximately 33% of American adults have high blood pressure, reports the American Heart Association. Little more than half of those cases have their high blood pressure under control. And that’s just the reported cases. So many people go undiagnosed. And, if left untreated, high blood pressure can damage blood vessels, your heart and even kidneys and it all can lead to coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure, among other conditions.

Usually, there are no symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why many people don’t discover they have it. You should have your blood pressure taken at your physician’s office and find out early if you need treatment.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure prevention tipsA “normal” range of blood pressure usually is less than 120 for the top number (systolic) and less than 80 for the bottom number (diastolic). If your systolic number is more than 140 or your diastolic is higher than 99, you have high blood pressure and may need to start immediate treatment according to your doctor.

Despite all of the bad news, there is good. High blood pressure is not only treatable but preventable, too. Here are ways to keep your blood pressure in check.

  • Eat a healthy diet. This includes a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Increase physical activity. Americans have a sedentary lifestyle overall. No matter what age you are it’s important to have physical activity each day. Healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Check your BMI to find out how you measure up.
  • Control your numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Be tested regularly about every 4-6 years beginning at age 20, and ask your doctor about your results. “Normal” blood pressure was discussed earlier as lower than 120/80. Your cholesterol numbers should be 180-200 mg/dL for your total cholesterol, your LDL (bad cholesterol) is high if it is over 190 mg/dL, and HDL levels (good cholesterol) should be greater than 40-60 mg/dL. Lastly, you ideally should have a fasting blood sugar of less than 100. These are guidelines and are subjective based on risk factors and other conditions. All results should be discussed with your doctor.
  • Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet. You should limit your sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day and less if you have other risk factors.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking is one of the top risk factors for many diseases, including heart disease. Quitting reduces your risk.
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    High blood pressure may occur as you age, but with a little prevention you can control your future health.

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    Wendi Hager About Wendi Hager

    Wendi Hager is the Editor of AgeinPlace.com and has more than 12 years experience managing and writing content for magazines, newspapers, web and marketing.

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