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A Comprehensive Guide to Managing and Preventing Blood Pressure

Sep 25, 2023

Common Illnesses Treatment

A Comprehensive Guide to Managing and Preventing Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure of circulating blood against the walls of your arteries, which carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Your blood pressure typically rises and falls throughout the day.

While high blood pressure (hypertension) increases your risk for stroke, heart attack, and kidney damage, low blood pressure also impacts your health. So, it is crucial to maintain healthy blood pressure levels for optimal health and wellness.

Let us discuss all about blood pressure, its causes, effects, and prevention strategies.

Understanding Blood Pressure Numbers

Your blood pressure reading is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), containing two numbers:

  • Systolic Blood Pressure (Top Number): It is the pressure on your artery walls when your heart contracts or beats.
  • Diastolic Blood Pressure (Bottom Number): It is the pressure on your artery walls between heartbeats (when your heart relaxes).

An average blood pressure level is 120/80 mm Hg or lower.

Causes of High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is classified into two types:

Primary Hypertension

It is when your hypertension gradually develops over the years but is not caused by any other medical condition.

While its cause is unclear, certain factors increase the risk of primary hypertension, including:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Unhealthy diet (for example, a diet high in sodium)
  • High consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Plaque buildup in the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • Obesity
  • Insulin resistance
  • Smoking

Secondary Hypertension

It is when your hypertension is caused by other medical conditions, including:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Medications, such as pain relievers, cold and cough medicines, immunosuppressants, and oral contraceptives
  • Tobacco usage
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Thyroid problems

How Are Stress and High Blood Pressure Connected?

When you are under stress, your body reacts to it by releasing some hormones. These hormones lead to a rapid heartbeat and a temporary narrowing of your blood vessels, resulting in high blood pressure.

Although no definitive evidence suggests that stress alone causes prolonged high blood pressure, engaging in unhealthy coping mechanisms to respond to stress can ultimately raise blood pressure levels and significantly escalate the risks of heart attacks and strokes.

The Impact of High Blood Pressure on Health

High blood pressure can damage your health in several ways, including:

Damage to the Arteries

  • Aneurysm
  • Damaged and narrowed arteries

Heart Damage

  • Heart failure
  • Enlarged left heart
  • Coronary artery disease

Brain Damage

  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Dementia
  • Transient ischemic attack (ministroke)
  • Stroke

Kidney Damage

  • Kidney failure
  • Kidney scarring (glomerulosclerosis)

Eye Damage

  • Optic neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Retinopathy (damage to the retinal blood vessels)
  • Choroidopathy (fluid accumulation under the retina)

Besides, hypertension may cause sexual dysfunction and some life-threatening conditions, such as:

  • Sudden loss of kidney function
  • Blindness
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Damage to the body’s main artery (aortic dissection)
  • Chest pain
  • Pregnancy complications (eclampsia or preeclampsia)

How to Manage High Blood Pressure?

You can manage your hypertension by:

  • Monitoring your blood pressure levels regularly to keep them in a healthy range.
  • Keeping your blood sugar levels in check.
  • Taking your medications on time and as prescribed.

Besides, you can follow these strategies to lower your hypertension naturally:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a low-sodium and a potassium-rich diet.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Engage in relaxation techniques (yoga and meditation) to reduce your stress.

How to Prevent Hypertension?

To protect yourself from hypertension:

  • A healthy diet should include fiber, proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and more.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Stay Active.
  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

Final Thoughts

As hypertension opens doors to an array of health issues, it is more than important to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. By following simple lifestyle changes to manage your diabetes and engaging in relaxation techniques, you can proactively manage your hypertension and protect your overall health and well-being.

Get Prompt Medical Intervention for Hypertension at Metro Urgent Care

At Metro Urgent Care, we understand that a healthy heart is the way to a healthy body. That’s why we offer comprehensive hypertension management and prevention to patients in Chicago, IL, and surrounding areas. With our cutting-edge diagnostic tools, customized treatment regimens, and a compassionate team, we can help you effectively manage your hypertension, preventing associated health risks. Schedule an appointment today to begin your journey towards a healthy heart.

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