High Blood Pressure – What You Need to Know

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High blood pressure also known as hypertension is a very common medical condition.  It is known as the silent killer because in many (if not most) cases it does not present any symptoms.  A good percentage of people who have high blood pressure are not even aware they have the disease.  Blood pressure increases as we age.

When high blood pressure is not treaded and brought under control it can lead to heart disease, stroke, blood vessel disease, kidney disease, eye damage and heart failure.  It is also related to sexual dysfunction and dementia.

If high blood pressure runs in your family you are at greater risk for developing the problem.  If it is not a problem of heredity you can be putting yourself at risk with your lifestyle  Risk factors which may contribute to high blood pressure include smoking, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, obesity and high salt intake.

It is important to have your blood pressure reading done by your health care professional to determine if your blood pressure is normal, high or low.  He or she may recommend medication if your blood pressure is too high and they may recommend some lifestyle changes to help control the problem.

Your health care professional may be able to suggest a blood pressure monitor you can purchase to keep track of your blood pressure at home.  Many pharmacies have blood pressure machines you can use to keep track of your blood pressure.

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In order to improve your health it is important to make some lifestyle changes.

If you are overweight  you need to work toward reaching a healthy weight.  This means eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and some whole grains, low fat dairy, protein and good fat.  You need to control portion sizes.  You need to limit the amount of sodium you are eating.  Be sure to read labels in search of sodium and also to determine the portion size of the product.  Fast foods and many packaged foods and frozen meals are high in sodium and should be avoided.

If you are using caned vegetables or beans drain and rinse them to get rid of the salty liquid.  Be careful of canned soups since some of them are high in sodium.  Again, check the label.

You want to be active physically for at least one half hour on most days.  More time spent in activity is even better.  Whatever type activity you enjoy is fine.

Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.

Of course, stop smoking.

Some over the counter medications may raise blood pressure.  These can include naproxen, ibuprofen and some cold medicines.

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure it is important to take your medication each day as prescribed and follow the steps your medical professional has outlined for you for a healthy lifestyle. With proper care people with high blood pressure can lead a long, productive, happy, healthy life.