Keeping your Blood Pressure in Balance can Prolong your Life
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. If the heart has to work too hard, the blood pressure goes up, but in a normal situation it should come down at rest. High blood pressure has been associated with a greater risk for many diseases. On the other hand, there are also diseases that cause the blood pressure to rise. This can be likened to that old popular question, “which came first the chicken or the egg?” For instance, high blood pressure may cause kidney disease and yet kidney disease also causes high blood pressure. Aging and diabetes are also risk factors for high blood pressure. At any rate, keeping your blood pressure in balance can help prolong your life, as high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and eye problems. One of the main problems with high blood pressure is that it often does not cause any symptoms and for this reason has sometimes been described as a “pending time bomb” or a “silent killer.”
The new measurements for high blood pressure are 130 or higher and 80 or higher (130/80), whereas previously it was 140/90. If your blood pressure is lower than 90/60 then you are suffering from low blood pressure. Low blood pressure can lead to fainting, dizziness and feeling light-headed. Sometimes medicines can lower blood pressure too much, so you must check with your doctor to make sure your medicines are not causing low blood pressure.
Check Blood Pressure Regularly
Blood pressure should only be checked after resting for 5-10 minutes. You should sit in a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor. Don’t move or talk while your blood pressure is being checked. It is normal for blood pressure to rise when engaging in physical activities, but then when resting it should come down. If it remains high all the time you must check with your doctor who may prescribe medication to lower it. However, keep in mind that medicine does not cure high blood pressure, which is why you should not rely on medicine alone, but also follow a healthy lifestyle. It is possible you might have to take medicine to lower your blood pressure for the rest of your life.
Controlling your Blood Pressure with a Healthy Lifestyle
Eat Healthy Nutritious Foods
Extra virgin olive oil, fresh fruits, whole grains, green leafed and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage help to strengthen the blood vessels. Also, eat a lot of oily fish like salmon, cod and herring.
Watch your Weight
If you are overweight your heart has to work harder to carry that extra load around.
If you are a smoker quit because nicotine has been scientifically proven to raise blood pressure.
Get more Physical Exercise
There are even exercises you can do while sitting in a chair if you have health problems that keep you from walking. If you can walk, try to walk for at least 10 or more minutes a day. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) offers a lot of information about exercises at their website: Go4Life.
Cut Down or Quit Drinking Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol can also cause blood pressure problems and worsen them.
Go Easy on Salt
Too much salt can raise blood pressure. On the other hand, low blood levels of sodium (salt) can also cause the blood pressure to rise. If you live in a hot climate and work outdoors in the heat you actually will need to take extra salt. Your doctor can send you for a simple blood test to see how much sodium is in your blood and then guide you on how much salt you should use.
Make sure you do not have any sleep disorder problems like obstructive sleep apnea, which can cause you to periodically stop breathing while you are sleeping. Every time you stop breathing this puts pressure on the heart. Read more about sleep in our blog post from July 13, 2018. Also, read about treating sleep disorders and Alzheimer’s in our blog post from May 10, 2018.
Life is often full of stress and you have to find a way to lower the stress threshold. Find out what works best for you whether it is listening to music, gardening, going for a walk, talking to friends, praying, doing stretching yoga exercises, hand crafts like knitting, reading and more.
When there is a Need for Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation
If you or your loved one need to be in short or long-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing care, make sure also that it is one that has lots of recreational activities and opportunities for physical exercise like the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York.
Keeping your blood pressure in balance can prolong your life.