What IS high blood pressure?
Knowing the answer to this question is an important step towards an effective prevention or management of this deadly condition.
In this article you will find 2 things:
4 simple answers to this question and towards the end of the article important recommendations on how to protect yourself and your loved ones.
What IS high blood pressure?
Answer 1: High blood pressure, nicknamed the “the silent killer” is a very serious and deadly medical condition that affects millions of Americans. It affects 1 in every 3 adults in America.
Answer 2: High blood pressure is one of those illnesses that people often find they have it only by pure chance.
Why? The minute your blood pressure rises above normal values, though your internal organs are being weakened month after month, you often do not feel a thing – No warning signs. You go about your normal business unaware that you are sick. That’s why high blood pressure is nicknamed ‘the silent killer’.
In fact, an overwhelming number of those suffering from this condition do not even know they have it.
Answer 3: High blood pressure is a deadly illness that can affect ANYBODY. We are all at risk (children, teens, adults and seniors).
Answer 4: High blood pressure is not an infectious disease and it is not contagious; there is no pathogen involved. High blood pressure is basically a condition that results from your body embarking on a ‘self-destructive path’ so to speak..
Sounds like something out of a science fiction movie… Uh!!!
Yet, that’s exactly what happens the minute your blood pressure rises above normal values.
Now that you know the answer to the question what is high blood pressure – HOW DO YOU FIGHT BACK?
Recommendation 1 Since there is rarely any symptoms, ‘How do know whether you or a loved one has it’?
Frequent blood pressure monitoring is the only way.
Recommendation 2 Watch what you put in your shopping cart during grocery shopping –stay away from processed food.
Or, at the very least, make sure you opt for low sodium alternatives. When it comes to high blood pressure, sodium is one of your worst enemies.
Recommendation 3 Watch your weight
Recommendation 4 If you smoke – quit smoking.
Recommendation 5 Go easy on alcohol.
Recommendation 6 Exercise – nothing fancy, according to the American Heart Association, even simple household chores counts.
Recommendation 7 Consume plenty of food high in potassium
– we are surrounded with so many of these foods. Increase your intake of food known to lower blood pressure.
Recommendation 8 DASH diet – this is one of your best allies against high blood pressure
Exercises to Lower Blood Pressure
Exercise has a great effect on your health. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services there are at least 15 medical conditions that will improve, providing you respect the current recommendations.
While in some cases, years of involvement in frequent exercise are needed to see a noticeable effect, below are 4 health benefits obtainable after only a few weeks or months of participation in physical activity.
- Cardio-respiratory fitness
- Increased muscular strength
- Decreased depressive symptoms
- Decreased blood pressure
Source: the United States Department of Health and Human Services
It is important to note that these health benefits can be observed, even though, no weight loss has been noticed. Before our list of exercises to lower blood pressure, here are two important recommendations.
Recommendation 1: According to The Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and as a rule of thumb:
The minimum amount of effort for substantial health benefits is:
Two and a half hours (or 2 ½ hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week
- 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise/week
In your effort to manage high blood pressure, it is recommended to spread this time across the week.
- The minimum among of effort for more extensive health benefits is
- 5 hours aerobic physical activity per week a week (moderate-intensity)
- 2 ½ hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity
You can increase the number of hours of course; the more the merrier but remember to keep it at a comfortable level.
You can throw in some muscle-strengthening activities (moderate or high intensity) for added benefits.
Recommendation 2: Note that some are contraindicated for people with certain conditions or for the elderly. In all cases, please refer with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Here are 15 recommended aerobic physical activities
- Aerobic dancing (considered vigorous)
- Ballroom dancing (moderate)
- Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster (vigorous)
- Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour (moderate)
- General gardening (moderate)
- Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing, with heart rate increases) (vigorous)
- Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack (vigorous)
- Jumping rope (vigorous)
- Racewalking, jogging, or running (vigorous)
- Swimming laps (vigorous)
- Tennis (doubles) (moderate)
- Tennis (singles vigorous)
- Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking) – (moderate)
- Water aerobics (moderate)