High blood pressure or hypertension is a common condition that occurs when your blood flows through your arteries and circulates at a higher rate than is normal.
Many Americans living with high blood pressure are not aware they have the condition. The condition remains undiagnosed, untreated and uncontrolled. Often, the condition presents no symptoms and individuals feel there is no need to check their blood pressure.
Age does not necessary indicate a risk for hypertension. Younger Americans develop the condition as well. High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke, which is on the rise among young Americans. Higher rates of obesity are thought to be the cause for this increase.
The chart below shows blood pressure ranges and stages of hypertension for adults who do not already have any underlying illness or conditions.
We can all take steps to prevent high blood pressure. We can also follow similar steps to manage and control high blood pressure if we are already diagnosed with the condition.
Follow these goals:
- Healthy Eating
- Regular Exercise
- Quit smoking
Physicians commonly recommend the “DASH” eating plan for patients who need to decrease their blood pressure. DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a lower sodium and sugar plan than the average American diet. It incorporates fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts, legumes and low-fat dairy. All these foods provide nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber and protein.
Regular physical activity is key to lowering and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. It is also great for lowering stress levels and increasing energy.
Strength training can also help reduce blood pressure. Consult your physician to develop an exercise plan that is right for you.
If you have high blood pressure, it is recommended you check it multiple times a day. Keeping track of this information is very important for you and your doctor when trying to control and manage this condition.