Have you or a loved one recently been diagnosed with hypertension?
You’re not alone. According to the World Health Organization, over a billion people across the world suffer from hypertension.
In fact, so many people have been diagnosed with it that many refer to it as the ‘silent killer.’ Often times, people are affected in negative ways by the ailment without knowing they have it or before they ever start treating it.
That’s why it should be a priority for you or your family members to be proactive about treating it through hypertension management.
In this article, we’ll look at how you can do that.
What Is Hypertension?
Hypertension is another way of saying that a person has high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is a measurement that figures out how much pressure is in your arteries when your heart pumps blood. It takes into account two numbers—systolic and diastolic—and gives you a final reading that a medical professional can analyze.
Hypertension is a dangerous thing to have because science shows a direct link between people with hypertension and heart disease, strokes, and other scary ailments.
Fortunately, because it is so prevalent across the world, a lot of people are able to treat their hypertension to help lower their risk of disease.
Often this comes in the form of various medications. But most doctors agree that taking medicine isn’t enough, and that further lifestyle interventions are necessary to really improve your health.
What Causes Hypertension?
A range of things can cause high blood pressure, but here are some of the most common things:
- Being overweight or obese
- Sedentary behavior (not exercising)
- Too much sodium in your diet
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Drinking too much caffeine
- Older age
As you can see, the causes vary.
However, at the root of all most of these causes is one silver lining: they’re in your control and can be changed.
Exercise and Diet
Along with medication that’s been prescribed to you by a doctor, exercising and eating a healthy diet are the two most effective ways to improve your high blood pressure.
Let’s look at each in more detail.
Being sedentary can increase the pressure in your arteries. But movement can be like an antidote.
Aerobic exercise especially has been shown to reduce the symptoms of hypertension and may even reverse it. Running, swimming, biking, and rowing are all activities you can practice for even 20 to 30 minutes per day a few times a week to improve your situation.
This is because aerobic exercise strengthens the tissues in your cardiovascular system (heart, lungs, and arteries). It also burns calories, which can help you lose weight—another risk factor for hypertension.
A diet high in sugary, processed foods has been shown to increase your risk of hypertension. So has eating too much salt, drinking too much alcohol and caffeine, and not drinking enough water.
If you’ve been prescribed medication for high blood pressure, it’s also a good idea to get back to the basics with your diet.
Build your meals around:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lean protein sources
- Whole grain carbohydrate sources like brown rice
- Healthy fats like olive oil
(By the way: olive oil has actually been proven to reduce the symptoms of hypertension.)
On the other end of the spectrum, try reducing the unhealthy foods and beverages from your diet, or consuming them less frequently. This too can help with weight loss.
The more science dives into this topic, the more we learn just how impactful stress is on our health.
The symptoms of stress are varied and well-documented, and quite frankly, a little scary.
Anything from low energy to decreased brain function is possible when you’re chronically stressed. And yes, hypertension is also linked directly to allowing external sources to run your life.
When your body is stressed, it releases hormones that elevate your heart rate and essentially prepare your body for “battle”. While a physical altercation may never come, your body continues to deplete itself of energy.
Over time, this can lead to deteriorating levels of health and an increased likelihood of several different ailments.
If you know you’re stressed, this should also be a priority if you’re trying to rid yourself of high blood pressure.
Meditation, mindfulness practices, and even short walks can help alleviate stress.
Know Your Family History
The only uncontrollable factor that made the list, your genetics do play a role in overall heart health and your risk of hypertension.
If your doctor has you on medications or has warned you’ll need to start them soon, it’s good to take an assessment of your family’s history.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Have other people in my family had high blood pressure?
- Have other people in my family passed from the ailments linked to HBP (stroke, heart disease)?
If possible, find out when they started experiencing these symptoms or when they went on medication.
This way you’re being proactive about your genetics and may be able to decrease your risk simply by getting ahead of the curve.
Hypertension Management: Be Proactive
When it comes to hypertension management, two things come to mind: lifestyle changes and proactive measures.
By exercising and adjusting your diet, you’re giving your body a chance to reverse the patterns you slipped into that may have lead to high blood pressure in the first place. The same goes for dealing with stress.
And by assessing your family history and possibly using medications, you’re being proactive about the things not necessarily in your control.
The good news is you can get the latter at a more affordable price than ever.
Here’s where you can search our drug brand prices to see if you can save money on the medicine you need to manage your hypertension.