High blood pressure (hypertension) is considered to be a common occurrence, especially in older adults. It is estimated that 18% of men and 13% of adult women have high blood pressure which is going untreated. High blood pressure is nothing to take lightly and known among medical experts as the silent killer. It can go undetected for many years and is the leading cause of adverse heart-related events in adults.
Risk Factors Contributing to High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be caused by both lifestyle and hereditary factors. Some of the most common contributors to high blood pressure readings are:
A lack of exercise.
Sedentary lifestyles lead to poor heart health and stroke.
Studies show that even being as much as 20 pounds overweight can raise blood pressure.
Older adults tend to have more problems maintaining an ideal blood pressure reading.
Those with high-stress jobs and lifestyles are at especially high risk for high blood pressure.
Five Things You Can Do to Maintain an Ideal Blood Pressure Reading
1. Shed the Pounds.
Losing weight is one of the best things you can do to improve not just your blood pressure, but your overall health. Healthcare experts recommend swapping out fast food for healthier options and adopting a dietary plan that works well with your lifestyle. Experts also recommend staying within your ideal body mass index (BMI) range and to avoid major fluctuations in weight. In other words, consistency is the key to success!
2. Quit Smoking or Tobacco.
Smoking is a triple-negative thereat to your health. It produces three profound areas of adverse conditions in the body: lungs, blood pressure, and the heart. Smoking and/or tobacco use is linked to cancer diagnosis, heart-related events, and stroke. Cessation of tobacco products is tough and we encourage you to talk to your doctor for support.
Movement of the body is one of the best things you can do to help keep illness at bay. Exercise helps both the mind and the body and is very effective at keeping blood pressure nice and low. Find an exercise option that you love and stick with it!
4. Limit Alcohol.
Experts recommend limiting alcohol consumption for ideal blood pressure maintenance. The amount of safe alcohol is no more than two drinks per day.
5. Reduce Sodium.
Salt is a hidden culprit. Learn to read labels and begin to omit salty foods from your daily diet. Salty junk foods like potato chips and pretzels should be limited to once in a while or swapped out for fresh fruits and vegetables.
When to See a Doctor About High Blood Pressure
Because high blood pressure limits the blood flow and makes the heart work much harder than normal, the overall damage to your body can also impede daily activities. The good news is that with lifestyle changes and medical treatment, you can maintain a healthy blood pressure reading. A normal blood pressure reading is considered to be 120/80.
Physicians tend to become concerned when numbers are elevated beyond normal reading. It is also concerning if they remain elevated for long periods. In other words, a reading of 140/88 would be considered worrisome, and this might be a strong indicator you have a problem and require advanced treatment.