Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, affects millions of people across all ethnic groups and within all age ranges. In fact, one in every four American adults has high blood pressure; it is the most common cardiovascular disease. Even though it is an extremely serious health issue, it can be prevented and managed if dealt with properly. The key is to equip yourself with knowledge about how to make healthy choices that increase longevity and maximize your health.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as it pumps through the body. It is similar to the way air in a tire or water in a hose fills them up. Your blood also fills your arteries to a certain capacity. Just as too much air pressure can damage a tire, or too much water pushing through a garden hose can damage the hose, high blood pressure can damage healthy arteries and lead to life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
While blood pressure does vary from person to person, normal blood pressure is 120/80, and should not get too far out of this range. Even a slightly raised blood pressure reading can put a person at risk for other ailments. While certain activities such as exercise or a heightened emotional state can cause a person’s blood pressure to rise, problems come when an individual’s blood pressure remains consistently high. Consistently high blood pressure forces the heart to work harder, and it can injure blood vessels, causing damage to the brain, eyes, and even the kidneys.
When it comes to preventing hypertension, lifestyle and diet play a huge role. Foods that are full of sodium, as well as highly processed, fattening foods, are no good for your health; they can cause hypertension, and definitely make it worse. Smoking, living a sedentary lifestyle, and not handling stress properly will also put you at risk.
Developing a solid plan to prevent and/or deal with hypertension is critical to getting your health on track. If you haven’t been exercising, now is the time to start! You can begin with a moderate amount of exercise and gradually increase your time. In addition, eliminate foods that are high in sodium and fat and increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Even certain types and cuts of meat are higher in fat than others. For example, beef can be more fattening than fish, so if you are a huge beef eater, you may want to make an adjustment in that area. Also, make sure you have an outlet through which you can deal with stress in a healthy way. Getting massages, engaging in fun recreational activities, and spending quality time with your loved ones are great ways to decrease stress and promote a sense of total well-being.
When it comes to taking control of your health, it is all about making the right choices, even if they challenge your current habits. You can live the life God has designed for you, and that includes being physically healthy for as long as possible. Taking a preventive stance against hypertension will only benefit you in the long run.
"Living Long, Living Strong"
2 Message Series
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