Manage High Blood Pressure for Good Health

Manage High Blood Pressure for Good Health

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted March 29, 2018

Background

About one in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure, but many adults do not realize it, according to the National Institutes of Health.

High blood pressure usually has no warning signs. Yet, left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure also can damage the brain, kidneys, or muscles.

It is important that you talk with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider to find healthy actions that can prevent high blood pressure from damaging your health.

Definitions

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Your arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to other places in your body.

Each time that your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called, systolic pressure.

When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is called, diastolic pressure.

Normal blood pressure means that your systolic pressure is less than 120 and your diastolic pressure is less than 80. Usually, the systolic number in your medical record is recorded before or above the diastolic number.

How to Manage High Blood Pressure

  • Do not smoke. Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, talk with your medical doctor, nurse, or other health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Talk with your medical doctor about the DASH Diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH Diet, developed in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is designed to help prevent or treat high blood pressure.
  • Exercise daily. Aim for 30 minutes of daily exercise. Before starting to exercise, talk with your doctor about the possibility of aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, in which your heart beats harder and you use more oxygen than usual.
  • Limit alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and also increase calories. Men should have no more than two drinks per day. Women should have no more than one drink per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Control weight. Maintaining a healthy weight for your body frame can help manage high blood pressure and reduce your risk for other health conditions, such as heart disease or stroke.
  • Relax. Learning how to relax and manage stress can improve your emotional and physical health and lower high blood pressure. Stress management techniques include exercising, focusing on something peaceful, listening to calming music, and meditating.

For more information, see the Selected Information Resources that follow this blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing High Blood Pressure.
Summary Note: Describes a healthy lifestyle in terms of healthy diet, healthy weight, physical activity, no smoking, and limited alcohol. Includes CDC links to related information.
(Accessed 26 March 2018)

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. DASH Diet: Tips for Shopping and Cooking.
Summary Note: Provides tips to help you get started with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet. Tips include what to do before you grocery shop and how to select and prepare foods that support the DASH Diet.
(Accessed 26 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Relaxation Techniques for Health.
Summary Note: Discusses specific relaxation practices whose goal is to lower blood pressure, slow breathing, and produce a feeling of increased well-being.
(Accessed 28 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Mind Your Risks.
Summary Note: Describes Mind Your Risks, a public health campaign that educates people with high blood pressure about the importance of controlling blood pressure in mid-life (from the ages of 45 to 65). Explains that high blood pressure is one of the risk factors for dementia and stroke. Includes Additional Resources.
(Accessed 26 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Blood Pressure.
Summary Note: Animated slide show with audio description of normal blood pressure. Mentions risks of high blood pressure. Encourages medical evaluation to prevent stroke and damage to important organs, such as the brain and kidneys.
(Accessed 26 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. High Blood Pressure.
Summary Note: MedlinePlus Topic Page. Includes information on High Blood Pressure organized by categories, such as Children, Teenagers, Women, Seniors, and Patient Handouts.
(Accessed 28 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. How to Prevent High Blood Pressure.
Summary Note: MedlinePlus Topic Page. Defines different types of high blood pressure. Suggests ways to prevent high blood pressure. Includes links to Clinical Trials, Journal Articles, Patient Handouts, and Videos and Tutorials.
(Accessed 20 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Quitting Smoking.
Summary Note: MedlinePlus Topic Page on Smoking Cessation. Includes tips to stop smoking, therapies and treatments, patient handouts, and links to National Cancer Institute and other reliable websites.
(Accessed 28 March 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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