More than one billion people in the world deal with the effects of high blood pressure. Also known as hypertension, as many as one in every three adults in the United States have blood pressure readings that are dangerous to their overall health.
An Often Overlooked Silent Killer
The American Heart Association calls high blood pressure (HBP) a “silent killer” because it often goes undiagnosed and untreated, causing long-term damage to arteries and organs all over your body.
The most critical fact about high blood pressure is that you may never experience a single symptom to alert you that your readings are too high.
The myth that you will develop headaches, anxiety, dizziness, excessive sweating, nosebleeds, and facial redness is simply not true for the majority of people with HBP.
In fact, your first “symptom” of high blood pressure may be a heart attack, stroke, or damage to your kidneys. By the time you experience actual symptoms, you may already be in hypertensive crisis.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
Men and women are equally at risk for developing high blood pressure. However, men are more likely to get HBP before age 45 while women are more likely to develop HBP after age 65.
African American adults are statistically more at risk for high blood pressure earlier in life. Obesity and a family history of high blood pressure raises your risk substantially.
How Do Cell Phones Raise Your Blood Pressure?
New research released at the annual American Society of Hypertension conference suggested that cell phones may need to be added to the list. Doctors from Guglielmo da Saliceto Hospital found that calls made on mobile phones acutely increased blood pressure readings from normal to as high as 129/82.
Younger people accustomed to heavy phone use had better readings. Dr. G. Crippa theorized, “Patients who were more accustomed to phone use were younger, which could show that younger people are less prone to be disturbed by telephone intrusions.”
As of 2012, approximately 87% of U.S. adults regularly use a cell phone.
Know Your Blood Pressure!
If it’s been a while since you last visited your doctor, consider using a blood pressure monitor at a local pharmacy. They are fairly common since most people believe they will experience symptoms that alert them to HBP.
Blood pressure should be taken “at-rest” – meaning you do not exercise, smoke cigarettes, or drink caffeine for at least an hour before it is checked.
Your normal at-rest blood pressure should be below 120/80.
The first/top number is your systolic reading which is how much pressure blood pumping through your body is causing on your arteries with each beat of your heart.
The second/bottom number is the diastolic reading which is how much pressure remains on your arteries between heart beats.
If your reading is consistently higher than 120/80 – you could be in danger of developing hypertension. If it is consistently higher than 140/90 – you already have hypertension and should take steps to address it immediately.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
You’ve heard it before but lifestyle choices matter when it comes to preventing and treating the effects of high blood pressure.
Top 5 Ways to Prevent High Blood Pressure Right Now
- Develop a nutrition plan that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while decreasing your intake of salt and fat. One study found that patients with HBP actually crave more salt but it can be curbed with the use of other seasonings. Find out what to eat to lower blood pressure…
- More than 1/3 of the U.S. population is considered overweight – with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 25. Another 1/3 is considered obese – with a BMI greater than 30. The connection between obesity and heart disease is solid. Try to work in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day to help maintain a healthy weight and BMI below 24.9.
- Work to decrease the stress levels in your personal and professional life. Stress has been linked in countless studies to HBP, inflammation and decreased immunity.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Quit smoking and avoid the second-hand smoke from others.
Lower Blood Pressure Naturally with Yoga
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that yoga – combined with a healthy diet – caused a significant three-point drop in participants’ systolic and diastolic readings.
Those study participants who followed the diet but did not add yoga experienced improvement to a lesser degree, averaging a drop in systolic and diastolic of one point.
Yoga has been connected repeatedly to less stress, mental clarity and greater sense of self. The physical benefits include greater flexibility, balance, and decreasing the effects of high blood pressure. The low-impact exercise is excellent for those gradually working physical activity back into their daily life.
Checking your blood pressure is the first and most important step. If you don’t know you have high blood pressure – you aren’t able to do anything to treat and prevent it.
Though medication may be necessary at first, high blood pressure and its dangerous effects can ultimately be controlled with healthy lifestyle choices that will benefit every part of your body, lower blood pressure naturally, and help you feel stronger and better overall.