You’ve probably heard about Hypertension, also known as High Blood Pressure. It’s an unfortunately common, dangerous, and surprisingly sneaky condition that causes a variety of health problems if left untreated. Even though everyone has heard of High Blood Pressure, not everyone knows exactly what it is, or why it’s so dangerous.
WHAT IS IT, EXACTLY?
Blood Pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. Hypertension, or High Blood Pressure, is when that force is too high. This leads to a lot of health risks. So many health risks, in fact, that Hypertension has been given the label of “Silent Killer.” The unhealthy amount of pressure it puts out damages blood vessels throughout your entire body and drastically increases your risk of heart attacks, strokes, heart disease, and kidney disease. To make matters worse, Hypertensions shows no symptoms at first, and usually doesn’t manifest until after additional health risks and complications have formed. The lack of immediate symptoms and limitations on how doctors can monitor blood pressure makes it difficult to catch early.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
If you have Hypertension, you’re not going to know it for a while without regular checkups. Eventually, you’ll start having symptoms that include severe headaches, fatigue, difficulty breathing, chest pains, irregular heartbeat, and blood in the urine. But by the time these symptoms appear, chances are you’ll have had Hypertension for a while and may have already developed complications from it, like a higher risk of heart disease or a stroke.
HOW TO AVOID IT
Hypertension is common and dangerous, but do you know what the most effective deterrent and treatment for it is? A simple, healthy lifestyle. In fact, the majority of people with high blood pressure are treated not with drugs, but with suggested lifestyle changes. Medications are available for severe cases, but the best long-term solution is to make your body healthier overall.
To combat hypertension, Doctors recommend exercising regularly. This doesn’t mean intensive workouts at the gym; it can be anything that will get your heart rate up and blood pumping. Even something like brisk walks 5 days a week can help. Pick an exercise that you think sounds fun, that you’ll want to do.
Start a healthy diet. A popular diet specifically to aid against Hypertension is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH. DASH is based around a plant-based diet, so it emphasizes fruits and veggies but also includes whole grains and lean meats. It’s low in things like salt, red meats, added sugars, and fat, which are known to contribute to Hypertension.