Your blood is a vital way your body receives nutrients and oxygen to cells throughout your body, which makes a healthy cardiovascular system vital to an active and robust lifestyle. Your blood pressure helps to regulate the flow of blood in your cardiovascular system, so anything that affects it can increase the risk for things like stroke, heart attack and other complications.
The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that 103 million adults in the US have high blood pressure (hypertension), and the death rates from this condition are on the rise because of the other complications associated with it. Hypertension and other blood pressure problems can be managed with lifestyle changes to reduce risks of other problems, so let’s explore what your normal blood pressure looks like, what causes changes to it, and how you can improve it for a healthier life.
If you live in the Little River, South Carolina area and you're dealing with the symptoms of hypertension or other blood pressure issues, Dr. Rogers Walker of Walker Urgent & Family Care can help you manage the symptoms and restore normal levels. We offer decades of experience helping the whole family with a wide variety of conditions with compassionate and comprehensive care.
Your blood pressure is measured by the amount of systolic and diastolic pressure it exerts in your body. The information is read this way because the systolic readings indicate the amount of pressure your blood exerts in your artery walls when your heart beats, and the diastolic readings indicate the pressure while the heart is resting between beats. Normally, your blood pressure is below 120/80. From there, the risk increases in the following order for hypotension (low blood pressure) or hypertension:
The systolic pressure will be a bit more important as you age, as it is a major indicator of cardiovascular issues in people over 50. Rising blood pressure increases the risk of ischemic heart disease (caused by narrowing arteries) and stroke. Hypotension is more common in pregnant women and older adults, can be temporary or chronic, and can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or reduce blood to the brain and other organs.
Common causes of blood pressure changes leading to hypertension include family history, obesity, alcohol abuse, inactivity, diabetes, and a high sodium diet. The risk also increases as you age, and Black non-Hispanic people are known to have higher incidence of hypertension than other people.
Hypotension is often caused by dehydration, heart disease, faster or slower heart rate (tachycardia or bradycardia, respectively), pregnancy, emotional distress, blood loss, blood infection, and extreme changes in body temperature. Medications for Parkinson’s disease, depression, and erectile dysfunction (ED) can also increase the risk of hypotension.
There are lifestyle changes you can make to relieve both hypertension and hypotension, such as:
Your overall diet should lower the amount of refined sugar and sodium, reducing your intake of processed sweets, sodas, prepackaged foods, and fast foods. Foods that improve heart health like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins are recommended along with drinking more water, reducing alcohol, or quitting habits like smoking.
Hypertension can also be improved by engaging in regular exercise, which is also helpful in reducing weight. Targeting a regimen that helps you lose one or two pounds a week is a good start to reaching a healthy weight and lowering blood pressure.
Look for these signs of either hypertension or hypotension because early detection is key in effective treatment. If you’re diagnosed with either condition, follow your physician’s instructions, and keep a sharp eye on your blood pressure for any changes.
Blood pressure changes can be dangerous, but they can be managed and you can still lead a happy, healthy life. If you’re dealing with the symptoms of either hypertension or hypotension, make an appointment with Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent and Family Care today to get treatment.