High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a common condition. In fact, nearly half of American adults are diagnosed with hypertension, according to the Center for Disease Control. Beyond large numbers of diagnoses, just under half a million deaths were attributed to high BP in 2018 alone. Though this condition is common, there are many ways to naturally lower your blood pressure.
We’re glad you asked. We all generally know what high blood pressure means, but let’s get technical. Hypertension is when the pressure of blood as it is pumped through your arteries is chronically high, which can eventually lead to damage and heart disease. When we get our BP checked we get a reading of two numbers, one over the other like a fraction. These are the Systolic and Diastolic numbers:
Systolic: The top number of the “fraction” indication the amount of pressure against your artery walls while blood passes through, during a heartbeat.
Diastolic: The bottom number of the “fraction” indicating the pressure in your arteries between beats.
Now that we know what each number represents, let’s look at some benchmarks.
Our heart is happiest and healthiest in the 120/80 zone. Read on to learn more about risk factors, and how to keep our heart in a healthy range.
Long story short, for most people there aren’t any concrete signs of high BP. The best test is measuring your blood pressure! The Mayo Clinic does site nosebleeds, headaches, and shortness of breath as potential symptoms, but each of these has several other potential causes – plus if you are experiencing these symptoms due to high blood pressure, it could be life threatening.
There are two types of high BP: Primary Hypertension and Secondary Hypertension.
Primary Hypertension, also called Essential Hypertension, is typically a condition that develops over several years. There are no specific causes, but there are strong correlations with specific risk factors. We’ll go over those in a minute.
Secondary Hypertension is caused by another underlying condition. It can occur suddenly, and often results in a blood pressure that’s higher than Primary. Underlying conditions include:
Before diving into high BP remedies, it’s helpful to identify any risk factors.
Without treatment, hypertension can manifest into some serious ailments including heart attack, aneurism, heart failure, and dementia. Let’s discuss how to get your heart in good shape and avoid those conditions.
When we started researching how to prevent high blood pressure, Google had a lot of recommendations. Many of the suggested search queries were focused on quick fixes:
At least that last query “What is the best exercise for lowering blood pressure?” was on the right track! For a healthy heart and consistently low BP, there really aren’t any shortcuts you can take. What works? Consistently healthy lifestyle habits. Spoiler alert: many of these are some familiar suspects from our Risk Factors list.
High blood pressure is extremely common, but is also very treatable for those with Primary Hypertension. Stick to a well-rounded diet of whole foods, exercise regularly, and reduce stress; with these tactics, you’ll be well on your way to making your heart happy and healthy.