High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. It is one of the most common conditions affecting the adult population and can lead to serious problems such as heart attack and stroke. There are several possible causes of high blood pressure, ranging from lifestyle factors to underlying medical conditions.
Since blood pressure is closely related to hypertension and mental health of the individual. It is therefore However, necessary that mental health is kept at a healthy balance so as to prevent high blood pressure from the start.
- Genetics – There are certain genetic variations that make some individuals more susceptible to developing high blood pressure.
- Age – As we age, the walls of our arteries stiffen, leading to more pressure on the vessels.
- Weight – Excess weight puts more stress on the heart and can lead to higher blood pressure.
- Poor Diet – Eating a diet high in sodium, saturated fat, and sugar can all put an individual at risk for hypertension.
- Lack of Exercise – Physical inactivity can lead to obesity, which then increases the risk for hypertension. It also causes the blood vessels to constrict, putting extra strain on the heart.
- Stress – High levels of stress can lead to a surge in hormones that cause blood vessels to narrow, resulting in increased blood pressure.
- Kidney Disease – Some kidney diseases can result in reduced circulation, which then affects other organs such as the heart.
- Alcohol – Heavy drinking can lead to decreased responsiveness of the vessels, which can raise the risk of hypertension.
- Smoking – Smoking narrows the arteries and increases the risk of high blood pressure.
- Sleep Apnea – This is a condition in which breathing stops briefly during sleep and can cause a rise in blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a serious condition and can be prevented or treated by improving lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.
Best practices for keeping high blood pressure in check
- Follow a Healthy Diet: Eating a heart-healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help you keep your blood pressure in check. Eating food that is high in sodium can cause your blood pressure to rise, so it’s important to limit your intake of salty foods. Make sure to consult a healthcare provider or nutritionist to create a meal plan that fits your nutritional needs.
- Reduce Sodium Intake: Reducing your sodium intake is key to keeping your blood pressure in check. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your intake to no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day. Eating fewer processed and packaged foods, avoiding adding too much salt to meals, and limiting your intake of processed meats can all help you reduce your sodium intake.
- Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity is essential for controlling your blood pressure. Regular physical activity helps your heart pump blood more efficiently and reduces your risk of developing hypertension. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five days per week. Strength and resistance training are also important for managing blood pressure, so it’s important to vary your workouts.
- Reduce Stress Levels: Stress can have a big impact on your blood pressure, so it’s important to take some time to relax and reduce stress levels. Regularly participating in activities such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and listening to calming music can help reduce stress levels and improve your overall well-being.
- Monitor Your Blood Pressure: Regularly monitoring your blood pressure is important for keeping it in check. If your blood pressure is consistently high, consult a healthcare provider to discuss how to best manage your hypertension. A doctor may recommend lifestyle modifications, medications, or a combination of both in order to reach healthy blood pressure levels.
The science behind blood pressure
Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood pressing against the walls of your arteries as it is pumped by your heart. It is often referred to as a vital sign, since it is an indirect measure of how well your heart and circulatory system are working. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 mmHg.
The two numbers that are used to calculate your blood pressure measure the pressure that your heart exerts when it pumps and the amount of resistance the blood vessels and tissues put up against it. The top number, or systolic pressure, measures the pressure when your heart contracts, and the bottom number, or diastolic pressure, measures the pressure when your heart relaxes.
Blood pressure readings are made up of two parts: systolic and diastolic. Systolic blood pressure is the highest pressure when the heart beats and is normally measured first. Diastolic blood pressure is the lowest pressure between heartbeats and is usually measured second.
Every time your heart beats, it pumps blood through your arteries at a certain pressure, referred to as systolic pressure. In between heartbeats, your blood pressure drops to its lowest point, known as diastolic pressure. Having a healthy blood pressure is especially important because uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to many serious and potentially life-threatening medical conditions, such as stroke, kidney disease, heart attack, and even blindness.
The normal range for a healthy adult is less than 120/80 mmHg. However, many factors like your age, activity level, diet and lifestyle can affect your blood pressure reading. Therefore, it is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly to ensure it is in a healthy range.
It is important to know that there are often no warning signs for high blood pressure and it may be present for years without you being aware. The only way to know for sure is to get your blood pressure checked.