A quick overview of what we’ll cover in this blog post:
- Blood pressure defined
- High blood pressure and how it affects your health
- Ways to monitor and potentially lower high blood pressure.
High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is a silent condition. It often doesn’t cause any symptoms, so you may not know you have it. Though asymptomatic, it can cause a number of health complications if left untreated. And yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), millions of Americans have high blood pressure.
The good news? It’s entirely possible to prevent high blood pressure or get it under control. Do you have all the facts about your blood pressure? If not, no worries—we’ll help you understand blood pressure, how it affects your body, and ways to monitor it and get it under control.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure refers to the pressure on blood vessel walls as blood moves through the body. Blood pressure is very important and normal; in fact, it’s blood pressure that keeps our blood moving at all!
Doctors calculate blood pressure using two measurements: the amount of pressure present when your heart beats (systolic) and the amount of pressure present when your heart rests (diastolic)—that’s why you often hear your blood pressure referred to as “120 over 70,” for example. So basically, blood pressure is a measurement of how much pressure is present with each heartbeat.
Generally, a healthy blood pressure is anything under 120/80.
What is high blood pressure and what causes it?
Above normal blood pressure is generally anything over 120/80. A number of factors can cause high blood pressure, including diet, lifestyle habits (such as smoking), and other health conditions (such as obesity or diabetes).
How does high blood pressure affect your health and risk for diseases?
High blood pressure puts additional strain on blood vessels. Excess pressure can seriously damage blood vessels and make them less flexible, causing the heart to pump blood less effectively throughout the body. Blood vessel damage can lead to heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, and more. Heart disease and stroke, specifically, are two of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
Why is prevention important?
While there are many ways to reduce blood pressure, these treatment choices don’t do much to reverse any damage already caused by high blood pressure. That’s why prevention is crucial or, at least, monitoring your blood pressure so you can catch rising levels early before too much damage occurs.
How can you monitor and control your blood pressure?
Despite how prevalent high blood pressure is, there’s a lot you can do to keep an eye on your blood pressure and keep it under control:
Attend yearly check ups
Visiting your doctor for an annual check up can be an easy way to keep track of your blood pressure and discuss any questions you have.
Use monitoring devices
At-home blood pressure monitoring devices can help you regularly track your blood pressure, particularly if you think you are at risk.
Several supplements exist that can help reduce blood pressure, such as melatonin, fish oils containing omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and more.
Follow a low-sodium diet
Diets low in sodium can help manage blood pressure. Eating too much salt forces your body to hold on to more water than usual, driving blood pressure up. The DASH diet, for example, may be a good starting place.
Make lifestyle changes
Many lifestyle choices can raise blood pressure, such as smoking. If you smoke, consider quitting. If you don’t exercise enough, find ways to increase your physical activity each week.
Your doctor may recommend you start medication to help lower your blood pressure if other strategies are not working.
AgelessRx offers prescription medications that could also help, such as Wegovy (a weight-management drug that can also help manage blood pressure) and NAD+ (some evidence has shown that NAD+ can help reduce blood pressure).
Ready to get a handle on your blood pressure? Talk to your doctor to develop a treatment plan or check out medication options available at AgelessRx.