According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70 million American adults (29%) have high blood pressure. That’s one out of every three adults! And only about half of them have their condition under control. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause damage to the body, and even become fatal
High blood pressure is a condition that usually shosw few to no symptoms. If you don’t check your blood pressure because you assume symptoms will alert you if something is wrong, you’re most likely taking a dangerous chance that could cost you your life. Research shows that over half of people with high blood pressure are completely unaware of it!
In severe cases of high blood pressure, symptoms may appear. Signs of a serious hypertension problem include:
- Feeling confused or other neurological symptoms
- Blurred vision
- Chest pain
- Abnormal heartbeat
Health consequences that may occur if high blood pressure is left untreated include:
- Damage to the heart and coronary arteries – This can include a heart attack, heart disease, congestive heart failure, aortic dissection and atherosclerosis (the hardening of arteries)
- Kidney damage
- Loss of vision
- Memory loss
- Fluid in the lungs
- Peripheral artery disease
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
Since high blood pressure may not reveal symptoms to alert you that something is wrong, it’s important to know the risk factors for developing hypertension, and steps to prevent it. There are several factors that you may have no control over. A family history of high blood pressure puts you at a higher risk, as does aging and even sleep apnea. Other risk factors can be controlled. These include:
1. Lack of Physical Activity
Exercising on a regular basis is beneficial to your health in so many ways. It helps keep your heart and circulatory system healthy. An inactive lifestyle increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, blood vessel disease and stroke. Staying active will also help you to stay at a healthy weight and improve your overall health.
2. Poor Diet
Shoveling fast food, processed food and soda into your body is similar to treating it like a trash can. Caring for your body involves eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables andessential nutrients, and drinking plenty of water. A diet high in calories, fat, salt and sugar puts you at a higher risk for high blood pressure and a long list of other health problems.
3. Heavy Alcohol Use
Heavy and regular alcohol consumption can dramatically increase blood pressure. It can also lead to heart failure, stroke and irregular heartbeats. Overloading your body with alcohol can contribute to high triglycerides, cancer and other diseases.
Preventing High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure levels vary by age, race and ethnicity. Check in with a health care professional to determine where your blood pressure levels are. versus where they should be. The main ways to manage your blood pressure are to eat a healthy diet and control salt intake, participate in regular physical activity, maintain a healthy weight, manage stress, avoid smokin,g and limit alcohol.
Research has shown that in order to lower blood pressure naturally, it’s important to choose foods that are naturally low in sodium and high in at least two of these three minerals: calcium, magnesium and potassium. Here are several foods that you’ll want to incorporate into your diet to help reach your essential mineral goals:
- White Beans
- Red Bell Pepper
- Sweet Potatoes