Knowing Your Number! Your Guide to Hypertension
Every second of your life, blood travels through our bodies, carrying precious nutrients to every inch of us. In fact, in a single minute, 5 liters of blood make a complete trip from your heart all the way to your little toe and back again to the heart! Blood brings Liquid Nourishment to every cell in your body and carries away waste products from all your nooks & crannies.
For blood to make the lengthy trip, the heart and blood vessels work together to give blood the high-speed boost it needs. As the heart contracts, blood SHOOTS through your arteries en route to its’ destination. Arteries resist the high pressure created by the heart while promoting the high-speed flow of blood. The resistance created by the arteries can be measured and is known as BLOOD PRESSURE.
As the heart contracts, it creates a high-pressure surge known as systolic pressure. Relaxation of the heart lowers the arterial pressure and is known as diastolic pressure. You might recognize “120/80” as a normal blood pressure. “120/80” is the combination of systolic (120) and diastolic (80) pressures. This number is incredibly important because it tells the doctor how healthy your cardiovascular system is.
Is Blood Pressure Dependable?
Blood pressure is among the most common and trusted tests that Independent Nursing Care performs because it provides reliable information about your well-being. Blood pressure is a safe and gentle test and in fact, it is the only test a healthcare provider uses to tell if you have a serious health problem called HYPERTENSION.
What does it all mean?
If you have been diagnosed with HYPERTENSION, it is because your healthcare provider has taken your blood pressure a few times and seen that it was consistently high. High blood pressure and hypertension are used interchangeably to mean that the pressure inside your arteries exceeds the safe limit for what your body can handle.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is actually known as the “silent killer”. Most often, someone doesn’t have any symptoms of hypertension until they have serious complications from it. A diagnosis of hypertension should be taken seriously. Prolonged hypertension decreases your life expectancy and increases your risk for other serious health problems. Prolonged hypertension damages your arteries and can lead to blindness, heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
Hypertension is diagnosed based on a simple numerical system. If your systolic pressure is above 140 mmHg or if your diastolic pressure is above 90 mmHg, on a consistent basis, you have hypertension.
Here are three examples of blood pressure readings. The blood pressures are paired up with the proper diagnosis:
- Systolic Pressure
- 120 (or lower)
- 140 (or higher)
- Diastolic Pressure
- 80 (or lower)
- 90 (or higher)
- Blood Pressure
- 120/80 mmHg
- 140/90 (or higher)
** Pre-hypertension is a diagnosis that indicates an increased likelihood to develop hypertension**
Here are many of the reasons that people develop Hypertension:
• Smoking cigarettes
• Drinking more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day
• Lack of exercise
• Poor diet
• Lack of exercise
• Certain medications
• Menopausal status
• Ethnic background
• Abnormal cholesterol / triglycerides
• Personal history of:
• Heart attack or Stroke
• Cardiovascular Disease
• Abdominal aortic aneurysm
Ups and Downs
It is important to note that your blood pressure can fluctuate and is dependant upon many factors. The most often benign reason for an elevated blood pressure is “White Coat Hypertension”.
Other reasons for hypertension can include serious health problems. Hypertension may be the only warning sign of a dangerous condition. Hypertensive patients need to be examined by your primary health care provder.
Take Charge of Your Number!
Controlling hypertension can be a fun and rewarding process! Here at Independent Nursing Care, we are dedicated to maximizing your health! Below are a few ways you can make BIG improvements! These simple steps will help you regain control of your blood pressure and revitalize your overall sense of well-being!
The manners in which you Eat & Move have incredible implications to your health. Literally thousands of research studies support diet and exercise as safe and effective methods of maximizing health. Many other studies show that diet and exercise are extremely effective ways to improve blood pressure.
As a specialist the areas of nutrition and exercise, Dr. Steve makes the following recommendations:
SCRAP THE SODIUM!
- When it comes to controlling hypertension, a good general rule is the following:
The sodium content of pre-packaged, preserved and canned food is a major contributing factor to hypertension. They should be avoided at all times.
- Aim for less than 1,500mg of sodium per day!
- Do not add salt to your foods! Spice it up with the following health-promoting spices and herbs to give food a flavor kick:
Be sure to stash plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the house, office and car. Fresh food is preferred, and frozen is better than canned!
Specifically, add high potassium foods to your diet! This will improve your blood pressure.
ADD THE OILS!
Numerous research studies show that fish oil supplements (3 grams daily) can lead to significant reductions in blood pressure in individuals with untreated hypertension.
Dr. Novelli recommends using only brand oils. Not all fish oils are the same.
READ THE LABEL!
When buying pre-packed foods such as cheeses, snacks and beverages, look at the nutritional information. Try to weed out the high sodium foods from your cart. Make it a game for your kids to play – let them keep you on task!
The following recommendations have been made by the National Institute of Health in order to effectively manage hypertension:
No more than 25% of your daily calories should be from fat.
Boost calcium intake to 1,200mg per day
Reduce cholesterol intake to 150mg per day
Fruits and vegetables should take up most of your plate!
Check out the “DASH Eating Plan for Hypertension” – National Institute of Health
Downloadable PDF (980KB)
Staying physically active is another excellent way to control hypertension, lose weight and improve your well being.
**If you have a serious health problem, talk with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE!
Running on the treadmill or lifting weights are great ways of burning calories but not everyone goes to the gym. The most important thing is to do some moderately strenuous activity 5 days a week for 30 minutes. This can include brisk walking, yard work, walking 18 holes at a quick pace, or taking the dog around the block a few times a day!
PICK UP THE PACE!
What ever exercise you choose, it is important to pick up the intensity so that your heart is pumping just a little bit harder than when you are at rest. Your heart is just like any other muscle in the body. If you want it to be strong, you’ve got to work it out!
Wondering What’s In Your Food?
For those of you who are a bit more Nutrition Savvy, check out this link to the National Nutrient Database.
This extensive database tells youEXACTLY what’s in your food! Whether it’s a Double Cheeseburger, Lasagna or an Avocado, you’re sure to find the answers here!
Antioxidants are components of food that have an incredible ability to prevent damage to our cells and protect our DNA. Damage to our DNA paves the way for serious diseases such as cancer and is responsible for the aging process.
To maintain healthy organs and young looking skin, it’s vital to get plenty of antioxidants in our diet!
Here is a list of foods that pack an Antioxidant Punch:
• Red Delicious Apples
• Dark Chocolate
• Dried Plums
• Red Wine
• Boiled artichokes
• Raw Pecans
• Fresh Blueberries
• Raw Walnuts
• Fresh Strawberries
• Baked Sweet potato
Protect Your Future! Make an effort to eat one of these a day!