About 75 million American adults have high blood pressure and only about half of these people have their blood pressure under control. The problem with this cavalier attitude is that high blood pressure can lead to a host of diseases, some of which cause damage that cannot be undone. As Benjamin Franklin suggested, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Caregivers at Risk
The Family Caregiver Alliance reports that caregivers are a population with an increased risk of high blood pressure. This could be due to the higher levels of stress they experience than non-caregivers. The bottom line: managing stress and leading a balanced life are necessities, not secondary considerations.
What is High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is measured by two numbers—your systolic and diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is the top number and refers to the pressure in your arteries when your heart is pumping. The diastolic pressure is the bottom number and refers to the pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest. A blood pressure of 140/90 is considered stage 1 hypertension while a pressure of 160/100 is stage 2.
There are several risk factors that increase the risk for developing high blood pressure. This includes obesity, diabetes, smoking, lack of physical activitiy, too much salt or alcohol in the diet and stress. In many instances, the underlying cause cannot be determined.
One of the problems with high blood pressure is that it can go undetected until a serious disease results from its effects. For this reason, it is called the “silent killer.” High blood pressure increases the chance of having a stroke. It also increases the chance of developing kidney damage, heart disease, eye problems and dementia.
Controlling Blood Pressure
The good news is that blood pressure can often be controlled with lifestyle changes. This includes getting to your ideal weight as well as quitting smoking. While these may seem like daunting undertakings, slow and steady is the trick to making lifestyle changes that become habits. Smokefree.gov is a website whose mission is to help people quit smoking with help and support that includes tips, tools and expert advice.
Losing weight is a matter of taking in fewer calories than you expend. In order to do this, focus on the great fruits and vegetables that exist in our world and think about how delicious they taste. Imagine the sweetness of a ripe pineapple, the crispy texture of a slice of celery dipped in tzatziki sauce—a traditional Greek sauce consisting of yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic and fresh dill. Instead of envisioning what you’re leaving behind, packaged and processed foods, imagine all the wonderful food and flavors you’ll experience. Aim to make fruits and vegetables half of your meals.
Exercise is another important addition to a healthy lifestyle. The key is to incorporate exercise into your life at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days per week. Exercise can entail a brisk walk to an intense aerobic activity. The important aspect is to make it something you enjoy so that you can keep at it day after day—and make it a priority.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Villa Hills, OH, please contact the caring staff at Queen City Elder Care today. Serving Cincinnati and Surrounding Communities. Call Us Today (513) 510-4410.
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