May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. As your health coach, I am bringing you this information so you can be aware of the dangers of high blood pressure or hypertension (HTN).
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. It affects nearly one-third of American adults aged 18 or older (67 million people). People with diabetes also suffer with high blood pressure and may be on medications for both conditions.
A blood pressure reading of 140/90 is generally regarded as hypertensive. A normal blood pressure is <120/80. The first number is the systolic measurement or the pressure of the blood in the vascular system as the blood leaves the heart; the second number is the diastolic measurement and represents the pressure between heart contractions.
In addition to eating a healthy low-sodium diet, getting more exercise, and quitting smoking, you should check your blood pressure at home regularly in order to properly manage it. High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer” because it often has no obvious symptoms and many people don’t know they have it. Having your own blood pressure monitor at home makes it easy for you to stay on top of your measurements without having to wait until you go to your doctor or clinic.
If you have type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure you are at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). High blood pressure means the pressure of the blood pumping through your heart is too high. Over time, the heart gets tired from having to work so hard to pump the blood and the heart muscle becomes enlarged.
When the heart is enlarged, it can’t pump the blood as efficiently as it should and a stroke or heart attack can result. A combination of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes also increases your chance of developing kidney disease and retinopathy (disease of the retina). Making simple lifestyle changes to your diet, physical activity and stress level can reduce your risk of having to live the rest of your life on pills and not having the energy or stamina to do the things you enjoy.
Need help making those lifestyle changes? Fill in the form below to arrange for a free discovery session and get on your path to better health.
I would also like to draw your attention to the My Plate Plan widget on the right of this page. This is a personalized plan put out by the US Department of Agriculture to help you choose what to eat based on your age, sex, weight, height and activity level. Click on the widget and get on your My Plate Plan today.