Controlling your blood pressure could save your life. This isn’t an exaggeration, it’s very serious. Right now high blood pressure is at epidemic proportions in the United States. The statistics are staggering — more than 100 million U.S. adults, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). In addition, deaths from hypertension increased by 38 percent from 2005 to 2015.
In fact, high blood pressure, hypertension is referred to as the ‘silent killer’. That’s because many people aren’t aware that they have it, and even those that are aware, their condition isn’t well controlled.
Controlling Your Blood Pressure: Defining It
Today, the definition of high blood pressure is 130/80. The top number is your systolic pressure — the bottom number is the diastolic measurement.
Systolic pressure is the pressure when the heart beats – while the heart muscle is contracting (squeezing) and pumping oxygen-rich blood into the blood vessels.
Diastolic pressure is the pressure on the blood vessels when the heart muscle relaxes. The diastolic pressure is always lower than the systolic pressure.
Controlling Your Blood Pressure: What You Can Do
Lifestyle changes is the best way to start and they can make a huge positive difference. Start with making simple changes to your diet:
Switch to a low-salt diet and add fruits, vegetables and whole grains Also include low-fat dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts. All of these items make for a well-balanced diet and provides you with all of the nutrients and fiber that you need.
The AHA also recommends people with hypertension keep their sodium intake below 1,500 mg a day. Keep in mind that 75 percent of the sodium people consume is hidden in processed foods.
Stop smoking and cut down on your alcohol intake. Both can raise your blood pressure. Limit yourself to one drink a day (the equivalent of four ounces of wine) if you’re a woman, and two drinks if you’re a man.
Exercise: Moderation Does Wonders
You also don’t need to do much exercise to see results: Just 30 minutes of moderate morning exercise like walking on a treadmill lowers blood pressure for the rest of the day.
Moderate exercise is great for seniors — both men and women.
Make these lifestyle changes today and stay healthy and productive.