High Blood Pressure: Diet, Exercise and Don’t Root for Losers

High Blood Pressure: Diet, Exercise and Don’t Root for Losers

High blood pressure is a condition that can lead to a plethora of complications, including the ultimate complication: death. Having personally dealt with high blood pressure – or hypertension – all of my adult life, I have had it pounded into my somewhat thick skull by several doctors how important monitoring and taking care of my blood pressure is in allowing me the opportunity for a long life.

Now, let me pass on a little of the pounding to you.

High Blood Pressure: What are the Causes?

My doctor has told me that high blood pressure can be genetic; an inherited trait. When I was first diagnosed as having chronic, borderline high blood pressure, I had none of the classic causes active in my life, which led my doctor to believe it was a genetic disposition.

WebMD has a good article on the typical causes of high blood pressure on their “Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Guide” page. These factors include, smoking, being overweight, salt consumption, lack of physical activity and excessive drinking. Any of these items can increase your odds of having high blood pressure, and even if, like me, none of them apply, you may still have the condition due to genetic traits.

In short, have your blood pressure regularly monitored to make sure you are not at advanced risk for heart disease, heart attack or stroke.

High Blood Pressure: The Numbers

According to the US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health’s website, a blood pressure reading of 120/80 or lower is the normal range. A reading at or above 140/90 is high blood pressure and 120-139 for the top number (systolic) or 80-89 for the bottom number (diastolic) is considered pre-hypertension.

If you have any history of high blood pressure or even if you are simply getting into that middle-age region, it would be an excellent idea to buy a blood pressure cuff and keep tabs of your pressure. Hypertension can exist within a person and show no real symptoms, so you don’t want this life-threatening condition to sneak up on you.

High Blood Pressure: What to do About it

The first thing you should do about a high blood pressure issue is to see your doctor. He will outline the best methods for blood pressure control, which include losing weight if you’re carrying extra pounds, staying in good physical condition, eating healthy – particularly watching your salt intake – and taking prescribed medications.

Although sometimes it seems impossible, it is also vital to try and keep stress to a minimum. I gave this concept a personal test: I am a huge Notre Dame football fan, and lose all sense of reason and decorum while watching them play. I decided to check my blood pressure during a game when things were not going well for my Irish. Fortunately for me, they have been pretty miserable over the past 20 years, so I didn’t have to wait long.

Before the game started, my BP was 124/78 (I take regular maintenance medication). During one of the team’s many less than productive moments, it registered 162/105.

Wow, that’s like the old “this is your brain on drugs” type of alliteration.

In conclusion, regularly monitor yourself for high blood pressure, eat right, exercise and try to root for teams that don’t stink.

Categories: Diet, Health