What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure created against the walls of the blood vessels when it is pumped around the body by the heart. Blood pressure is measured in two different values: the systolic and the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is the higher of the two and represents the pressure when the heart pumps blood out. The diastolic pressure is the lower value and represents the pressure when the heart is at rest between heartbeats.
What is a normal blood pressure?
A normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80 mmHg, where 120 represents the systolic pressure and 80 the diastolic pressure. High blood pressure is usually defined as a constant blood pressure above 140/90 mmHg. However, it is important to note that blood pressure can vary depending on individual factors.
Is high blood pressure dangerous?
Having high blood pressure can potentially be dangerous because it increases the load on the heart and blood vessels. It can lead to a range of serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney disease and impaired blood circulation in the legs. High blood pressure can also affect other organs in the body and increase the risk of complications such as heart failure and heart attack.
Risk factors for high blood pressure
There are several factors that can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure. Some of these factors are hereditary and cannot be controlled, while others can be influenced through lifestyle changes. Here are some common risk factors for high blood pressure:
- Heredity: If you have a family history of high blood pressure, you are at greater risk of developing it yourself.
- Overweight and obesity: Obesity can increase the load on the heart and thus increase the risk of high blood pressure.
- Stress: Prolonged stress can affect blood pressure and increase the risk of hypertension.
- Bad eating habits: A diet rich in salt, saturated fat and sugar can increase the risk of high blood pressure.
- High alcohol consumption: Drinking large amounts of alcohol can lead to high blood pressure.
- Smoking: Tobacco smoke contains substances that can raise blood pressure and damage blood vessels.
Tips for controlling your blood pressure
There are several steps you can take to prevent and control your blood pressure. Making healthy lifestyle changes can have a significant effect on your blood pressure and reduce your risk of hypertension. Here are some recommendations to keep blood pressure within a healthy level.
Change your eating habits
A healthy diet plays an important role in controlling blood pressure. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources and low in salt, saturated fat and sugar can help lower blood pressure. Try to reduce your intake of processed foods and convenience foods, which are often high in salt and other harmful substances. Instead, you can cook from scratch with fresh ingredients and use herbs and spices to add flavor instead of using a lot of salt.
Regular physical activity is an important part of keeping blood pressure in check. Exercise can help strengthen the heart and improve blood circulation, which can lower blood pressure. Try to be physically active every day by including activities such as walking, cycling, swimming or dancing in your routine. Even small changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking the car further away can make a difference.
Overweight and obesity are risk factors for high blood pressure. Losing weight can help lower blood pressure and improve your overall health. Try to eat a balanced diet and avoid excessive consumption of high-calorie and unhealthy foods. Combine a healthy diet with regular physical activity to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Avoid prolonged stress
Stress can affect blood pressure and increase the risk of hypertension. Finding ways to manage and reduce stress levels can be helpful. You can try various stress management methods such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga or mindfulness. Find what works best for you and incorporate it into your daily routine to promote relaxation and well-being.
Limit alcohol consumption
Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure. Try to limit your alcohol consumption to moderate amounts. According to recommendations, women should consume no more than one glass of alcohol a day and men no more than two glasses a day. If you have high blood pressure, it may be wise to consider completely abstaining from alcohol or limiting your intake further.
Smoking is a significant risk factor for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Tobacco smoke contains substances that damage blood vessels and increase the risk of high blood pressure. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. If you need help, you can contact your health center or other support resources for advice and support to quit.
Reduce salt intake
Reducing salt intake can help lower blood pressure. Salt contains sodium, which can increase blood pressure in some people. Try to avoid adding extra salt to your food and reduce your intake of salty foods such as chips, salted nuts, canned foods and processed foods. Carefully read the ingredients list on packages to be aware of the salt content of the foods you buy.
Monitor your blood pressure regularly
It is important to monitor your blood pressure regularly to be aware of any changes and take measures in time. You can contact your health center for a blood pressure check or use a home blood pressure monitor to monitor your blood pressure regularly. Discuss the results with your doctor or healthcare professional for advice and possible treatment if needed.
By regularly checking your blood pressure, you can detect and manage high blood pressure in time. With the help of healthy lifestyle changes combined with following the recommendations of your doctor, you can keep your blood pressure within a healthy level to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Remember that it is important to monitor your blood pressure regularly and seek medical help if necessary.