To move blood through your body, your heart beat creates pressure that pushes its way through your blood vessels, arteries, veins, and capillaries. This method of circulating blood throughout your body is known as blood pressure, and we need blood circulation to work properly to live. Nearly half of the adults in America struggle with hypertension, or high blood pressure, a condition where the amount of pressure in your blood vessels is too high and can lead to many life threatening illnesses. In 2019 alone, hypertension contributed to half a million deaths from related conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
Hypertension is an illness that can be managed and controlled, and while medications are available, there are many lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risks and keep you healthy. To see what changes you can make to manage your blood pressure, let’s examine why controlling it is so important and what specific things you can do to stay healthy.
Residents of the Little River, South Carolina area looking for ways to manage their blood pressure can find help with Dr. Rogers Walker and the skilled medical team at Walker Urgent & Family Care.
Why controlling blood pressure is important
We’ve already covered how blood pressure works in the body, but to understand how high blood pressure increases the risks of heart disease and other problems we need to know what it does to the heart and your circulatory system. When your blood pressure rises, it creates a strain in the tissue in your heart and blood vessels, forcing them to work harder and less effectively.
This also affects the material in your blood, like cholesterol which forms plaque in damaged areas of your circulatory system and leading the way for atherosclerosis, also known as a hardening of the arteries. This narrows your blood vessels that can cause a range of other conditions, such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, vision loss, kidney disease, and sexual dysfunction. Keeping your blood pressure under control will reduce the risks of these conditions and help you stay healthy.
Lifestyle changes to reduce it
To reduce your chances of dealing with the complications associated with high blood pressure, here are some changes you can make:
Losing weight can help reduce a lot of stresses on your body as well as your heart. Blood pressure rises with weight gain, so this is a solution that can help in a lot of ways. This also means getting into an exercise routine to manage a healthy weight. Reducing the amount of stress you deal with can also reduce your blood pressure, which can be done by taking more time to relax, prioritizing ways to avoid stress in your daily routine, and avoid stress triggers.
Dietary changes can work with weight reduction to help manage hypertension and other problems, but modifying your diet to reduce foods that raise blood pressure alone can give you lower blood pressure. Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet, cutting down on the amount of processed foods you eat, and keeping a food diary to monitor your intake are all ways to help your blood pressure.
Alcohol consumption in small doses doesn’t pose a major threat, but alcohol abuse can not only raise blood pressure, it can make medications for treating it less effective. So reducing alcohol can make a difference, but if you smoke, stopping will help reduce blood pressure and a whole lot more. Your blood pressure continues to rise even after you’ve smoked, and stopping will reduce hypertension and your chances of heart disease.
Checking your blood pressure regularly will keep you informed of your progress, and strong support from family and friends will help make the journey to lower blood pressure easier. There are many reasons people suffer from hypertension, but we can help and there are ways you can help yourself. If you’re ready to be free of hypertension, make an appointment with Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care today.