High blood pressure 101: 3 things you need to know about your health

High blood pressure 101

High blood pressure can sneak up on us and cause serious illness. If you are concerned about your high blood pressure, remember that the following three things can be an absolute lifesaver. Let’s see about high blood pressure 101.

  • Knowing your blood pressure numbers

When possible, it is good to check your blood pressure at home. There are high-quality blood pressure monitors available that can give you an accurate blood pressure reading (be sure to buy the one that wraps around your upper arm). These machines are cost-effective and available just about everywhere that blood pressure is concerned.

Although you may want to rely on the blood pressure readings your doctor gives you, blood pressure does change and may be different when you are at the doctor to when you are at home. The best thing to do is sit quietly at home for five minutes before checking it, and by doing so you will have more regular, accurate readings that your doctor can utilise to develop a proper treatment plan for you.

Consult your doctor in regard to how often you should check your blood pressure. Wait at least 30 minutes after exercise, drinking caffeine or exercising, and be sure to empty your bladder before taking a reading!

  • Go after the cause of your high blood pressure

If there is something you know is causing your high blood pressure, it’s a good idea to attempt to treat it (if possible). The best possible treatment for high blood pressure is changing its cause, and this could be the difference between saving your life or not.

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Common high blood pressure causes include:

  • Sedentary lifestyles: Even getting out for more walks can lower your blood pressure and reduce the need for prescribed medications.
  • Eating junk food: Foods that are high in sodium are known to increase blood pressure and should be limited in your diet.
  • Having an unhealthy weight: Losing weight can be a great way to lower your blood pressure.
  • Drinking too much: Drinking daily or even multiple times a week can increase your blood pressure.
  • Untreated sleep apnea: Experts believe that 30%-50% of people with high blood pressure experience sleep apnea and most of these cases go untreated. If you awake feeling unrested, if you snore, or if your partner notices you often stop breathing whilst asleep, you may be experiencing sleep apnea and should look to have it treated.
  • Primary aldosteronism: This is a problem with hormones that was once thought to be quite rare. However, research has shown that it is far more common than once thought. If your blood pressure doesn’t appear to be controlled via your medications, you may want to ask your doctor about high aldosterone levels.

Consults your doctor about what may be causing your high blood pressure. Genetics are often the case, but it is becoming more apparent that high blood pressure is caused by something we can work on ourselves.  

  • Continue to take your medications

Of course, people don’t want to have to take their medication. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have the need for them at all. However, if you know that your blood pressure puts you at risk of things like a heart attack or stroke, then you should be consciously taking them to avoid these risks.

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By combining your medications with the above-listed health practices, you should be greatly reducing your risk of succumbing to some of the potentially fatal aspects of high blood pressure. It might not be what you want to do, but it simply has to be done.

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