What’s the big deal about Blood Pressure?

Community Hospital 02/05/2016 Health and Wellness

There’s a lot of talk about blood pressure and as many as 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure, only half of whom have their condition under control. But why does it matter? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention high blood pressure (BP of 140/90 mmHg or higher) is named as a primary or contributing cause for almost 1000 deaths per day. When blood pressure goes up you may have few or no symptoms, so it is important to check it regularly.

Several risk factors contribute to the development or worsening of hypertension. Some modifiable risk factors are obesity, tobacco use, activity level, eating diets high in sodium and low in potassium, and alcohol use. Other non-modifiable risk factors include certain medical conditions like diabetes, family history, advanced age, and gender.

The good news is if you do have high blood pressure, or if it is starting to creep up, you have several options. Simple things like adjusting your diet can bring systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure down by as much as 5 and 3 mmHg respectively (USDA guidelines recommend the DASH diet for reducing cardiovascular risk factors, lowering risk of metabolic syndrome, and maintaining a healthy body weight: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/new_dash.pdf).

Likewise, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, losing weight, limiting alcohol intake, and getting active can make a big difference! Adding a moderate-intensity endurance exercise program has been shown to improve blood pressure. And of course if any of these changes aren’t quite adequate pharmaceuticals are always an option.

As with any medical condition, be sure to consult with your primary care provider before making changes.

For more resources visit:
Howley, E. T., & Thompson, D. L. (2012). Fitness professionals handbook. Champaign, IL.
Powers, S. K., & Howley, E. T. (2012). Exercise physiology: Theory and application to fitness and performance. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

~ Anne, B.S. Exercise Physiology

One Comment

  • Jenny Williams

    When I read this story I realized just how similar it was to my husband’s condition. He had uncontrolled blood pressure for years and the doctors kept doing the same tests over and over, and when they couldn’t figure out what to do next they just gave him more medication. He also had two stents put in and his carotid artery on the right cleaned out. Despite the medication he was on, he never felt well and eventually had a TIA, which terrified me. The doctors didn’t seem to have any idea what to do, other than double or even triple his meds. After discovering some natural remedies, his BP came down from 200/140 to 130/80 in just 3 weeks. The difference in his health and general wellbeing has been phenomenal. All he did was follow the advice in this website: http:///www.journalofnaturalhealth.com/bloodpressure.

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