Can you reduce your risk of high blood pressure?
High blood pressure can be a silent killer because many people have it and don’t even know so we look at ways you can reduce your risk.
Hypertension – also known as high blood pressure – affects a lot of people and while some require medications to treat it, others can reduce blood pressure risk by making changes to their diet and lifestyle.
Firstly, let’s have a look at what high blood pressure actually is. High blood pressure is a measure on a machine that gives a reading of pressure pushed into the arteries (systolic) and within the arteries during heartbeats (diastolic). A normal reading is considered to be 120/80mmHg. If it’s over 140/90 mmHg, it’s considered high.
You may be feeling fine
Doctors regularly monitor patients because most people with high blood pressure may not even show any symptoms. They could feel completely fine and not be showing any obvious symptoms. Some people may have headaches or a shortness of breath. To reduce blood pressure risk you must first identify if you are suffering from it or likely to be in the future.
Reduce blood pressure risks
Leading causes of high blood pressure are mainly down to lifestyle but a family history and genetics can also play a part. Lifestyle risks include a diet high in sodium, saturated and trans fats, being overweight or obese, smoking, not getting enough exercise and drinking too much alcohol. Making lifestyle changes can have a positive effect on your high blood pressure. Sometimes other factors include having a family history of high blood pressure and diabetes. So, you may be able to reduce your risks by cutting back on salt and fat, eating more fibre, fruit and vegetables, quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising more and managing your stress levels. Before making any significant changes to your health you should consult a GP.
Some people get enough exercise while others may not be able to or are just unwilling. Exercise has a positive effect on all aspects of your health, including high blood pressure risk. It helps to maintain mobility, strengthens muscles and bones and is great for your mental health. Read more about how much you should exercise each week.
Will these changes be enough?
For some people, changing lifestyle factors to reduce blood pressure risks may not be enough. There are a number of medications available that treat high blood pressure which you can discuss with your doctor. Beta blockers help to stop the effects of adrenaline on the heart by preventing it from beating too fast. Other treatments include ACE inhibitors which stop blood vessels from narrowing and ease the pressure on the heart having to pump blood around the body, and diuretics which help remove sodium from the body.
Call Junction Road Family Practice today on (07) 3857 2799 to speak with one of our experienced GPs about your blood pressure risks.