Health

High Blood Pressure Risk Factors

  • High blood pressure, hypertension, is a silent killer that makes the heart work harder. Hypertension can leave your arteries scarred and damaged, leading to ischemia and can even affect multiple organs if left untreated. Blood pressure is recorded using two numbers: systolic, the top number that measures the pressure during contraction, and diastolic, the bottom number that measures the heart’s pressure in between beats. The ideal blood pressure is 120/80. It is normal for blood pressure to fluctuate throughout the day while you rest, exercise and do your daily activities. It is important to assess your risks for hypertension as it can be caused by lifestyle or be a hereditary trait.
  • Women are at a higher risk for hypertension. Family history, weight and hormones can play a large role in developing high blood pressure. It is important to maintain a healthy balance, as weight and hormones can sometimes go hand in hand. Even being just 20 pounds overweight will increase your risk. Making our hearts work harder causes damage in the long run.

    Diet is another risk factor for developing hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, you should be on a low salt diet, as salt increases blood pressure. Eating clean and a well-balanced meal that is low in saturated fats and cholesterol can decrease your risk. Not only is it important to have a healthy diet to ensure that you are getting the proper nutrients but to also prevent health problems that can arise from your food choices. About 70% of the American population is considered overweight, which is why heart disease is so prevalent in the US.

    Your lifestyle can also lead you to have high blood pressure.  Decreasing alcohol consumption is also a great way to lower your risks, as well as smoking. Smoking narrows your blood vessels and increases your risk for ischemia (lack of blood flow) to your heart, brain or other organs. An excess amount of alcohol in our blood system will create an unhealthy blood pressure over time. Staying well hydrated is an important habit to create that will help keep your body healthy. When our body’s cells lack water, they signal to the pituitary gland to produce vasopressin, which constricts our blood vessels and can cause a terrible domino effect if you already have narrowing of the blood vessels due to atherosclerosis (plaque build-up).

    Cutting back on caffeine, losing weight (if needed), managing stress, getting a full night of rest, reducing sodium and eating potassium rich foods are a few way to lower your blood pressure naturally. You can also read this article on foods that are good for blood pressure.

    Sources

    https://www.goredforwomen.org/know-your-risk/factors-that-increase-your-risk-for-heart-disease/high-blood-pressure-heart-disease/

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