Understanding High Blood Pressure
What is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the amount of force that exists when your heart pumps and rests; when this pressure is too high, it can be dangerous. High blood pressure contributes to a variety of different health conditions, including stroke, heart attack, vision loss, kidney disease, and more. Having your blood pressure taken is the best way to know if you have this condition, as there are generally no symptoms. Reformed Church Home in Old Bridge, NJ, can help residents understand how to avoid high blood pressure, monitor when it does occur, and provide education to help lower the risks.
Normal vs. high blood pressure
As most people know, when you have your blood pressure taken you will get a reading of two numbers. The number on top is your systolic blood pressure reading, and it refers to the pressure your heart is pumping against the arteries when it is beating. The diastolic number on the bottom refers to the pressure when the heart is resting. Normal blood pressure readings are anything below 120/80. The American Heart Association states that high blood pressure, or hypertension as it is often called, begins at a reading of 130 to 139 for the systolic number and 80 to 89 for the diastolic number. If your blood pressure is elevated, you should discuss with your doctor some ways to help bring the numbers back down to the normal range.
Healthy living for healthy blood pressure
Sometimes a healthy lifestyle is enough to lower blood pressure on its own. Doing things such as losing weight, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and limiting sodium in your diet can bring numbers down for many people. Other times it may be necessary to take medication to lower your blood pressure. Either way, getting high blood pressure under control is extremely important for your health. Untreated, it can contribute significantly to circulatory problems, cause a heart attack, and result in other serious health issues.
Watching your sodium is key!
Eating too much salt is something that can cause blood pressure to rise. Because of this, it’s important to watch your intake of sodium. Most of us get more salt than we need in our day-to-day diet; so, cutting back is something you can do to be heart-healthy. Besides table salt, there are many things we eat that tend to have high sodium content, including:
- Processed and fast foods
- Pickles and olives
Ways to reduce the salt in your diet include cooking with fresh or dried herbs instead of salt, choosing reduced sodium grocery items, eating at home more often, and reading food labels.
Help for hypertension
Even though high blood pressure is a common health problem, there are many things you can do to manage this condition. Make sure you are getting yours checked regularly, and if it is high, work with your physician to form a plan to bring it down. There are many lifestyle factors that can be changed and will benefit you, such as changes in diet, or adding an exercise component to your daily routine. Doctors can prescribe medications to bring blood pressure down as well.
Many seniors are unaware they have hypertension and have limited ability to get to medical appointments, start and stick with an exercise program, or eat healthy meals three times per day. At Reformed Church Home, our residents have access to balanced meals of their choosing, various fitness opportunities, and monthly wellness visits to check on blood pressure and other important health indicators. Call our Old Bridge, NJ, community to learn more about all the services we offer for elder care. In the meantime, don’t forget to keep an eye on your blood pressure numbers!