In the United States alone, nearly half of all adults suffer from high blood pressure. With May being National High Blood Pressure Education Month, now’s the perfect time to educate yourself on high blood pressure, if you haven’t already.
Today, the experts at your local McAllen pharmacy, Saenz Pharmacy, will review everything you need to know about high blood pressure.
What is Blood Pressure?
Let’s start by going over what blood pressure is. Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries are responsible for carrying blood from your heart to other parts of your body.
What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is when the force of blood against your artery walls is too high. It is normal for your blood pressure to fluctuate throughout the day, but when your blood pressure is too high for a long period of time, it can damage your heart and cause serious health problems.
Any reading at or above 130/80 is considered high blood pressure.
The Risks of High Blood Pressure
Having persistent high blood pressure can put you at risk for the following health complications:
- Heart disease
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Aortic aneurysms
- Kidney disease
- Vascular dementia
- Weakened and narrowed blood vessels in the kidneys
- Thickened and narrowed blood vessels in the eyes
Because these risks are so serious, it is always a good idea to keep up with what your blood pressure is and continue to monitor it if you believe it may be high.
Who Is At Risk for High Blood Pressure?
Certain factors make you more susceptible to developing high blood pressure, such as:
- Lifestyle habits (e.g. too much sodium intake, not enough potassium, lack of exercise, drinking too much alcohol, smoking)
- If you are a male; high blood pressure is more common in men than in women
- If you are a woman over the age of 55
- Race; people of African American heritage are more likely to develop high blood pressure at an early age
- Being overweight or obese
- If you suffer from high stress levels
- If you take NSAIDS like naproxen, sulindac, diclofenac, piroxicam, indometacin, Mobic, Lodine, and celecoxib
- If you take cough and cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine
- If you suffer from chronic conditions including diabetes, kidney disease, or sleep apnea
- If your diet is low in vitamin D
- If high blood pressure runs in your family
The Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Knowing the symptoms of high blood pressure can help you diagnose the condition early on. These are the symptoms to watch out for:
- Severe headaches
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Shortness of breath
- Visual changes
If you are suffering from these symptoms, it is in your best interest to see a healthcare provider to accurately assess if high blood pressure may be to blame.
How You Can Control High Blood Pressure
Luckily, while it is a serious condition, high blood pressure can be controlled. High blood pressure can best be managed by:
- Losing any extra pounds and watching your waistline
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet
- Reducing salt intake
- Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink
- Quitting smoking
- Cutting back on caffeine
- Lowering stress levels
If these natural ways of controlling your high blood pressure don’t work, you can see your doctor to get specific medication to keep your blood pressure under control.
If you think you might be suffering from high blood pressure, it is best to seek help from a medical professional.
Honor National High Blood Pressure Education Month by spreading awareness and checking your blood pressure at Saenz Pharmacy.
High blood pressure is a serious condition and you can never be too safe. Reach out to Saenz Pharmacy to speak with a McAllen pharmacist about hypertension today.