If you don’t suffer from high blood pressure, you probably know somebody who does.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 70 million American adults have high blood pressure—that’s one out of every three!
While it’s common, high blood pressure is still a potentially devastating disease. If the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough, you may experience health complications such as heart disease.
Complicating matters, you can have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) for years without experiencing or showing any symptoms. The problem is, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues undetected. This can potentially lead to heart attack or stroke.
Generally, high blood pressure develops over many years, and almost everyone experiences it eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have it, you can control it.
The Risk Factors of High Blood Pressure
According to the Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure has many risk factors, including:
- Age. The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age. Through early middle age, or about age 45, high blood pressure is more common in men. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after age 65.
- Race. High blood pressure is particularly common among blacks, often developing at an earlier age than it does in whites. Serious complications, such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure, also are more common in blacks.
- Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in families.
- Being overweight or obese. The more you weigh the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls.
- Not being physically active. People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. The higher your heart rate, the harder your heart must work with each contraction and the stronger the force on your arteries. Lack of physical activity also increases the risk of being overweight.
- Using tobacco. Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily, but the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow, increasing your blood pressure. Secondhand smoke also can increase your blood pressure.
- Too much salt (sodium) in your diet. Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
- Too little potassium in your diet. Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. If you don’t get enough potassium in your diet or retain enough potassium, you may accumulate too much sodium in your blood.
- Too little vitamin D in your diet. It’s uncertain if having too little vitamin D in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. Vitamin D may affect an enzyme produced by your kidneys that affects your blood pressure.
- Drinking too much alcohol. Over time, heavy drinking can damage your heart. Having more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may affect your blood pressure. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
- Stress. High levels of stress can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure. If you try to relax by eating more, using tobacco or drinking alcohol, you may only increase problems with high blood pressure.
- Certain chronic conditions. Certain chronic conditions also may increase your risk of high blood pressure, such as kidney disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.
How Simple Wellness Tackles High Blood Pressure
We utilize several methods to help you get your high blood pressure under control. With our overall approach to creating wellness, we’ll introduce you to acupuncture, meditation, and the principles of mindfulness. In addition, we’ll help you lose weight and create healthy eating habits, as well. You’ll get the best of common knowledge and holistic techniques, ensuring your blood pressure stays in a healthy, normal range.