Though it often goes unnoticed, high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious condition. It can lead to many serious complications, such as increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
The best way to prevent your blood pressure from getting too high is to understand the most common causes of hypertension and take the appropriate steps to avoid them. Though this condition is nothing to sneeze at, it’s also entirely manageable and avoidable if you take the right steps to prioritize your health.
This starts with understanding what factors increase your blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure Causes
Hypertension is split into two different types depending on its cause.
Primary hypertension develops slowly over the years. It doesn’t have a singular cause but, instead, is the product of many lifestyle factors taking their toll on the heart and the smooth muscles of the arteries.
Secondary hypertension has a more rapid onset and usually results in higher blood pressure. It can be caused by certain health conditions and certain medications.
Exercise and Diet
Lifestyle factors like a lack of exercise and a poor diet are top contributors to high blood pressure and related conditions such as heart disease. Diets high in sodium and saturated fat are especially harmful if you have blood pressure issues.
Living a healthier lifestyle is the best method to reduce risk factors for many dangerous health conditions. Everyone can benefit from making more nutritious meals and adding routine exercise to their daily habits.
Lots of Stress
A high stress level raises the blood pressure, especially when this stress is sustained for a long time.
At times of high stress, your body produces higher amounts of the hormone epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. This activates your “fight or flight” response, raising your blood pressure and producing a rapid heart rate.
If stress continues for too long, this can cause lasting damage to your heart and your blood vessels.
High blood pressure is a frequent medication side effect. While this is usually only a temporary issue that corrects itself over time, in some cases, it can result in a more permanent form of hypertension.
In addition to some over-the-counter medications, some prescription medications have been linked to high blood pressure. These include decongestants, oral contraceptive pills, and some cold medications.
Other Diseases and Health Conditions
Many health conditions can increase your risk of developing hypertension. Some examples are kidney disease, thyroid issues, congenital blood vessel defects, and sleep apnea.
Additionally, any cause of chronic pain can raise your stress levels, which results in heightened blood pressure.
Prevention of High Blood Pressure
For the most part, prevention is similar to the usual high blood pressure treatments. Since most cases of primary hypertension develop gradually over the years, avoiding unhealthy behaviors is the best way to halt this process. For secondary hypertension, prevention focuses on treating the underlying condition causing higher blood pressure.
Making Healthier Choices
Avoid consuming too much fat and sodium in your diet. Skip takeout whenever possible, and opt for home-cooked meals in which you control the exact ingredients. Be sure to use fresh, healthy components in the preparation of most of your meals.
As for working out, a little bit goes a long way. As little as 30 minutes of light exercise per day can reduce your average blood pressure significantly and improve your overall well-being. Try easy cardio exercises like jogging and jumping jacks, or go for strength training workouts.
A good work-life balance is integral to managing your stress levels and keeping control of your high blood pressure. Take time to relax and cool off after difficult projects at work or big life events, and try to include some relaxing hobbies.
Meditation can also help you alleviate tension effectively. For a one-two punch, combine exercise and stress relief with mindful workouts like yoga and tai chi.
Getting Routine Medical Care
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nowhere is this more true than in the medical field, where preventative care could save your life.
Most regular check-ups involve checking your blood pressure, so be sure to have an annual physical. If you’re currently experiencing any of the health conditions that increase your risk of developing hypertension, it’s best to address these concerns sooner rather than later.
Speak with your doctor about the best preventative strategy for you.
Food For Thought
The more proactive you are about addressing higher than average blood pressure, the more effective your preventative measures will be.
If you have any high-risk factors, it’s especially important for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means cutting back on stress, eating right, and staying active, as well as getting routine medical care and monitoring your blood pressure.
With careful management of your health, you can keep high blood pressure from harming your well-being.
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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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