Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, affects nearly half of the adult population every year– that’s 119.9 million people. It’s called the “silent killer” because it can be hard to notice symptoms for hypertension. Hypertension occurs when blood pressure is consistently too high, which puts a strain on the cardiovascular system. Blood pressure readings above 140/90 mmHg on multiple occasions are considered high blood pressure.
What are some risk factors for hypertension?
Lots of factors contribute to the development of hypertension, including lifestyle choices, underlying medical conditions, and genetic factors. Here are some factors that can put you at a greater risk for hypertension:
- Diet choices: Lots of sodium, saturated fats, and cholesterol can increase blood pressure.
- Physical activity level: Not exercising regularly or staying active can contribute to higher blood pressure.
- Alcohol and Tobacco use: Using tobacco and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can increase the likelihood of hypertension.
- Stress: Feeling stressed can temporarily elevate your blood pressure, and being stressed for long periods of time can contribute to long term hypertension.
What are some health implications of hypertension?
When hypertension is not controlled, it can lead to more serious health issues. Putting strain on your heart for a long period of time can increase your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Hypertension can be managed to try to avoid these risks through medication, or lifestyle changes.
Here are some tips for managing hypertension:
- Eat a balanced diet: Reducing your sodium, saturated fat, and processed food intake can help to manage hypertension. Incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet is a great place to start!
- Increase your activity level: Start by exercising for 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
- Limit Alcohol and Tobacco use: Try to moderate your intake of alcohol and tobacco.
- Manage your stress: Find activities to help with your mental wellness, like deep breathing and meditation.
- Visit your healthcare provider: Having regular check-ups can ensure that you have personalized health advice, and that you get your blood pressure measured regularly.
Hypertension is very common and can have serious health implications if it isn’t managed properly. Taking small steps to improve your cardiac wellness, while working along your healthcare provider to develop a plan can greatly reduce your risk for serious disease associated with hypertension. Learn more at the CDC’s website here and check out this flipbook to protect yourself from the “silent threat,” hypertension.