Hello. This is Hypertension Prevention Tuesdays! Today, we’ll talk about 5 surprising facts about high blood pressure. What you don’t know about high blood pressure could hurt you. High blood pressure affects nearly half of the adult population in the United States,1 yet many people who have the condition don’t know they have it.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure raises the risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States. Fortunately, high blood pressure is treatable and preventable.
To lower your risk, get your blood pressure checked regularly and take action to control your blood pressure if it is high.
1. High blood pressure may be linked to dementia.
Recent studies show that high blood pressure is linked to a higher risk for dementia, a loss of cognitive function.2 Timing seems to matter. Evidence suggests that having uncontrolled high blood pressure during midlife (ages 44 to 66) creates a higher risk for dementia later in life.3 The takeaway? It’s never too early to start thinking about your blood pressure and taking steps to manage your high blood pressure.
2. Young people can have high blood pressure, too.
High blood pressure doesn’t just happen to older adults. Nearly 1 in 4 adults aged 20 to 44 have high blood pressure.4
High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke, a condition that is on the rise among younger people. Experts think the increased risk for stroke in this age group is a direct result of the rising rates of obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes—conditions that are preventable and treatable.5
Ask your health care team how often you should check your blood pressure. You can get your blood pressure checked at a doctor’s office or pharmacy, and you can check it at home if you have a home blood pressure monitor.
3. High blood pressure usually doesn’t have any symptoms.
High blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer.” Most people with high blood pressure don’t have any symptoms. Because many people feel fine, they don’t think they need to get their blood pressure checked.
Even if you feel normal, your health may be at risk. Talk to your doctor about your risk for high blood pressure.
4. Many people who have high blood pressure don’t know it.
About 1 in 3 U.S. adults with high blood pressure aren’t even aware they have it and are not being treated to control their blood pressure.6
Even though most people with uncontrolled high blood pressure have health insurance and visit a health care team member at least twice a year, the condition is often not diagnosed.7 CDC is working with health care professionals to find patients with high blood pressure who are “hiding in plain sightexternal icon.”
Ask your health care team what your blood pressure numbers mean and if they are too high. Stick to your treatment plan and follow your provider’s advice if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure.
5. Women and African Americans face unique risks when it comes to high blood pressure.
Women with high blood pressure who become pregnant are more likely to have complications during pregnancy than those with normal blood pressure. High blood pressure during pregnancy can harm a mother’s kidneys and other organs, and it can lead to premature delivery and low birth weight babies.
Some types of birth control can also raise a woman’s risk for high blood pressure. Women with high blood pressure who want to become pregnant should work with their health care team to lower their blood pressure before becoming pregnant.8,9
African American men and women have higher rates of high blood pressure than any other racial or ethnic group.4 These individuals are also more likely to be hospitalized for high blood pressure.10 Experts think these health disparities are tied to higher rates of obesity and diabetes.
Lifestyle changes, such as reducing sodium in your diet, being more physically active, and reducing stress, can help lower blood pressure.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hypertension Cascade: Hypertension Prevalence, Treatment and Control Estimates Among US Adults Aged 18 Years and Older Applying the Criteria From the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association’s 2017 Hypertension Guideline—NHANES 2013–2016external icon. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2019.
- Iadecola C, Gottesman RF. Neurovascular and cognitive dysfunction in hypertensionexternal icon. Circ Res 2019;124(7):1025–1044.
- Walker KA, Sharrett AR, Wu A, Schneider A, Albert M, Lutsey PL et al. Association of midlife to late-life blood pressure patterns with incident dementiaexternal icon. JAMA 2019;322(6):535–545.
- Benjamin EJ, Muntner P, Alonso A, Bittencourt MS, Callaway CW, Carson AP, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2019 update: A report from the American Heart Associationexternal icon. Circulation 2019;139(10):e56–e528.
- Yang Q, Tong X, Schieb L, et al. Vital Signs: Recent Trends in Stroke Death Rates — United States, 2000–2015external icon. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:933–939.
- Virani SS, Alonso A, Benjamin EJ, Bittencourt MS, Callaway CW, Carson AP, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics-2020 update: a report from the American Heart Associationexternal icon. Circulation 2020;141:e139-596.
- Wall HK, Hannan JA, Wright JS. Patients with undiagnosed hypertension: Hiding in plain sightexternal icon. JAMA2014;312(19):1973–1974.
- Chasen-Taber L, Willett WC, Manson JE, Spiegelman D, Hunter DJ, Curhan G, et al. Prospective study of oral contraceptives and hypertension among women in the United Statesexternal icon. Circulation 1996;94(3):483.
- Boldo A, White W. Blood pressure effects of the oral contraceptive and postmenopausal hormone therapiesexternal icon. Endocrin Metab Clin North Am 2011;40(2):419-32.
- Will JC, Yoon PW. Preventable Hospitalizations for Hypertension: Establishing a Baseline for Monitoring Racial Differences in Ratesexternal icon. Prev Chronic Dis 2013;10:120165.
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I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Is Dietary Supplementation Right For You?
There is a common saying, “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” This is especially true when it comes to heart health. Diet is sooooo very important… Did you know that your diet could be the key to a healthy heart? It’s true – what you eat (and don’t eat) can have a big impact on your cardiovascular health. So, if you’re looking to keep your heart in tip-top shape, make sure you pay attention to what you put on your plate.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to eat a healthy diet in this day and age. It is very important to note that we are not eating the same foods we ate years ago because the soils have been depleted of critical nutrients through current industrial farming practices. And because the soil is not as good as it used to be, the food supply (grown from the depleted soil) is not as good as it used to be. For example, you are not getting the same levels of magnesium as you would have gotten 30 or even 50 years ago.
Second, much of the food has been genetically altered, which can impact the inherent and unique nutritional composition that each food possess. For example, ancient einkorn wheat has less gluten, more protein, more Vitamin A, and more beta carotene, than modern genetically modified wheat.
Third, the toxic load in the environment today is much higher than 100 years ago. We can see this with global warming, toxic landfills, polluted oceans and waterways, etc. Toxicity levels interfere with nutrient assimilation and absorption not just into the foods, but into our bodies as well.
For some people, vitamin and mineral supplements offer important health benefits. Supplements are designed to fight deficiencies found in our diet and complement the food we eat regularly. Supplements are basically “helping hands” to our daily food.
If you need extra help in getting the nutrients you need, and/or are unable to eat better, the supplements in my Healthy Heart Bundle may provide the extra boost you need.
These are my favorite Heart Health Supplements to use! This Healthy Heart Bundle will ensure you have the intake of the important vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to decrease inflammation and boost your innate wellness day and night. Taken together, it’s a solid plan for increasing your body’s natural resiliency while you lose weight and improve your heart health, naturally.
For best results make sure you use my heart health supplements with dietary changes including a whole food plant-based diet, regular exercise (at least 2-3x per week), regular sleep (8 hours per night), and intermittent fasting (at least 1-3x per week).
Tools to Improve Heart Health
Blood Pressure Monitoring
It’s very important to monitor your blood pressure. I often recommend an automatic upper arm blood pressure cuff, but a wrist blood pressure monitor is also acceptable.
Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.
Taking Charge Of Your Heart Health
Heart health is a big topic. It’s in the news, on our minds, and for good reason; heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. But what if there was something you could do proactively to help protect your heart from future problems? Enter the CardiaX test—a revolutionary new way to take charge of your heart health!
What is CardiaX?
CardiaX is a comprehensive genetic testing panel that looks at mutations associated with common cardiovascular risks. It can be used to determine if there are any genetic factors at play in your heart health, and it can also identify potential areas of risk that may require further action. With this knowledge, you can make informed choices about your health today with the aim of improving long-term heart health outcomes.
Who Might Benefit from CardiaX?
If you have been diagnosed with or are at risk for atherosclerosis, abnormal cholesterol production, hypertension, stroke risk, and risk for heart attack then you may benefit from this test. Additionally, anyone who wants to know more about their genetic predispositions for common cardiovascular risks may also want to consider taking this test as well.
What Can I Do With My Results?
Your results will give you an indication of whether or not there are any potential genetic markers playing a role in your risk for developing certain conditions related to heart health. From there, you can work with your healthcare provider to develop a plan that takes into account these findings and helps you develop strategies for managing them going forward. In addition to lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise modification, selecting medications that are tailored specifically to your genetics could be beneficial as well.
In A Nutshell…
The CardiaX test is an exciting new way to take charge of your heart health by learning more about how genetics might be playing a role in certain cardiovascular risks. With this knowledge in hand, patients can make decisions informed by their own unique genetic profile that will help reduce their overall risk for developing certain conditions associated with heart disease. This type of proactive approach is key when it comes to protecting ourselves against this all-too-common affliction—so don’t wait another minute! Take control of your future and get started with the CardiaX test today!
Remember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.
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