It goes without saying that heart health is pivotal to a person’s overall wellbeing, and it’s important to eat right, exercise, and keep your stress levels low to keep your heart healthy. However, that’s sometimes easier said than done. High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects one in three adult Americans, which adds up to roughly 75 million people. And many others, particularly people age 60 and older, are at risk of developing it.
Blood pressure typically increases with age, with the risk of high blood pressure significantly rising once you hit 45. Despite this, there are precautions you can take to treat or prevent increases in blood pressure. With the right form of treatment, or even natural remedies for high blood pressure, your heart can be as strong and healthy as ever.
High blood pressure refers to the amount of pressure the circulatory system experiences while it is pumping blood through the body. Specifically, if a person’s systolic blood pressure is high, this means that the force exerted against artery walls is higher than normal. This increased pressure can lead to aneurysms, vision problems, heart failure, and kidney failure.
According to the American College of Cardiology, stage 1 hypertension in adults is defined by a systolic blood pressure (SBP) greater than 130 mmHg and a diastolic blood pressure (DBP) greater than 80 mmHg.
But what causes an elevation in blood pressure?
There are many triggers that can raise your blood pressure, including too much salt, too little potassium, too much alcohol, and excessive amounts of stress or physical activity. As with many chronic illnesses, genetics also play a key role in the development of high blood pressure. The condition can also stem from other medical problems, such as sleep apnea, or present itself as a side effect of certain medications.
As far as symptoms go, many people with high blood pressure don’t even realize they have it. Which is why it’s important, especially as you get older, to seek guidance from a medical professional if you notice symptoms such as increased heart rate, headaches, fatigue, vision problems, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or an irregular heartbeat.
In addition to natural remedies for high blood pressure, certain lifestyle changes are also worth considering. Studies have shown that people who lose weight, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy diet experience decreases in blood pressure levels and lower their risk of heart disease. It’s also important to minimize the amount of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine you consume, in addition to reducing stress, added sugars, saturated fat, refined carbs, and sodium intake.
The American Heart Association also recommends monitoring your blood pressure at home, and to stick with whatever medication or supplements you’re taking and maintain healthy lifestyle habits to ensure your blood pressure stays down.