Tips to Help Avoid High Blood Pressure
We all know that high blood pressure is not a good thing – but what exactly is high blood pressure and how is it caused? The heart is responsible for the essential task of pumping blood into the arteries and blood pressure is the force – or pressure - of blood pushing against the walls of the blood vessels.
High blood pressure – also known as hypertension - is potentially dangerous, as the heart has to work harder to pump blood. As the heart is overworked, it may eventually lead to heart failure and the hardening of arteries. And high blood pressure can also lead to such things as poor vision and kidney failure.
Blood pressure readings generally have two numbers – which confuse some people. Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80, and the numbers are measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg.
The first number is the actual pressure of blood against the artery walls; the second number is the pressure between beats. In older people, the first number generally tends to be higher, and the second number may be lower.
High blood pressure is a common complaint amongst seniors – over half of seniors aged 60 or over have high blood pressure symptoms. And in general, a senior in America has around a 90% chance of being diagnosed with high blood pressure at some point during their lifetime. Although anyone can suffer from high blood pressure, it’s more likely to occur as we get older.
Seniors in particular should be aware of the factors that cause a high blood pressure reading and have their blood pressure checked regularly. If your blood pressure measures too high on two different occasions, your doctor may decide you have high blood pressure. It’s also fairly easy to check it yourself. If it is high, it is likely time for high blood pressure medication.
High blood pressure is dangerous, partly because it’s quite possible to have it and not realize it – in fact, almost 33% of sufferers don’t know that they have it. The only way to know for sure is to have your blood pressure tested. Some symptoms which may indicate high blood pressure include chest pains, severe headaches, general fatigue and difficulty in breathing.
So what causes a high blood pressure reading – and how can you help to prevent it? High blood pressure is caused – or made worse – by several factors, many of which are beyond our control. It’s more likely to occur as we get older; you are also more likely to suffer from it if it other family members do.
High blood pressure symptoms are also caused by factors which are within our control - such as an unhealthy diet, being overweight, or a high alcohol intake. Too much salt in the diet is also a contributing factor – most Americans consume more salt than they need. A lack of exercise can also contribute to it – and as everyone knows, stress is one of the major causes of high blood pressure.
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