Your circulatory system helps to keep your body functioning properly. This system makes sure that your tissues and organs receive the oxygenated blood it needs throughout your body. When the heart beats, it creates pressure that pushes blood through a network of tubes, including arteries, veins, and capillaries.
What is High Blood Pressure?
Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, with many not even knowing that they do. High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) begins when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high. Essentially, the heart and blood vessels are working harder and less efficiently than they should. Over time, the high pressure of the blood causes too much friction, wearing down the delicate tissues inside the arteries. This leads to bad cholesterol, called LDL, forming plaque along the eroded parts of the artery walls causing atherosclerosis. The more LDL forms on the arteries walls, the harder it is for blood to flow through causing the high blood pressure and consequently, other health complications such as arrhythmia, heart attack, stroke and more.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
For most adults, there is no identifiable cause of high blood pressure. The first type of high blood pressure is called primary (essential) hypertension that tends to develop gradually over many years.
The second type of high blood pressure is called secondary hypertension. Some people develop high blood pressure from an underlying condition. This type can appear suddenly and can be more damaging than primary hypertension. The various conditions and medications that lead to secondary hypertension include:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Kidney problems
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Thyroid problems
- Certain defects you’re born with (congenital) in blood vessels
- Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers, and some prescription drugs
- Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines
Five Steps to Manage Your High Blood Pressure
The scariest part of high blood pressure is that it could be quietly causing damage without you knowing. Therefore, it is important to visit your doctor, along with making some healthy lifestyle choices to prevent and manage high blood pressure.
Know Your Numbers
Blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range according to the American Heart Association. Your doctor can provide a more tailored range based on your body.
Work with Your Doctor
Your doctor is very knowledgeable and can offer some great tips and advice on how to manage or lower your blood pressure. It only takes some effort on your part to make the necessary changes in your life.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
We all know maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a significant factor in living a long, vibrant life. Try to incorporate the following into your life as much as possible:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Check with your doctor on what a healthy weight for your body looks like. Generally, it is recommended to strive for a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.
- Eat healthier. Try to incorporate a variety of foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean chicken and fish into your diet. Reduce sodium by staying under 1,500 mg a day or make it a goal to reduce 1,000 mg per day.
- The goal is to do at least 90 to 150 minutes of anaerobic and/or dynamic resistance exercise per week and/or three sessions of isometric resistance exercises per week.
- Limit Alcohol. Drink no more than 1-2 drinks a day.
- Visit Your Doctor Regularly. Remember that half of all American adults have high blood pressure, and many don’t even know it. It’s so important to see your doctor so that you are aware of what’s going on with your body. Ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading at least every two years starting at age 18. If you are at a high risk of high blood pressure age 18 and up, you should be screened every year.
What is Low Blood Pressure?
Generally, the lower your blood pressure, the better. However, low blood pressure can be just as dangerous as high blood pressure if it causes noticeable signs and symptoms such as:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fainting (syncope)
- Dehydration and unusual thirst
- Lack of concentration
- Blurred vision
- Cold, clammy, pale skin
- Rapid, shallow breathing
What Causes Low Blood Pressure?
The causes of low blood pressure can range from dehydration to serious medical or surgical disorders. Below are some conditions that cause low blood pressure:
- Heart problems
- Endocrine problems
- Blood loss
- Severe infection (septicemia)
- Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
- Lack of nutrients in your diet
Four Steps to Manage Your Low Blood Pressure
Drink More Water
Drinking more water increases blood volume and decreases your chances of dehydration.
Wear Compression Stockings
These elastic stockings commonly used to alleviate the pain and swelling of varicose veins by reducing the pooling of blood in your legs.
Talk to your doctor about any possible medications you can take to treat your low blood pressure.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Try to incorporate a variety of foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean chicken and fish into your diet. Experts generally recommend limiting salt, but for people with low blood pressure, an increase in salt could be a good thing. Refer to your doctor to settle on what would be a healthy amount of salt for your diet.
Phoenix ER & Medical Hospital supports healthy blood pressure levels. Take your blood pressure seriously by being aware of the causes and symptoms of unhealthy blood pressure levels, visiting the doctor regularly, and finally maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Our facility is open 24/7 with emergency medical care for all ages so that in the case of any accidents or illnesses, we can help.
Come visit Phoenix ER & Medical Hospital at the SW Corner of Dobson & Queen Creek Rd in Chandler, AZ. 3050 S. Dobson Rd Chandler, 85248