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Managing Your Blood Pressure

May 11, 2018



According to the Indiana State Department of Health, 33.5% of all Indiana adults reported having high blood pressure in 2013.1 This means the force of your blood is pushing against the walls of arteries at higher levels than usual. It is normal for blood pressure to change throughout the day, but consistently high blood pressure, or hypertension, can cause serious health issues in the long run.
Unfortunately, there are no symptoms for hypertension and because of this, it’s commonly called “the Silent Killer.” The only way to diagnose high blood pressure is to get checked by a healthcare professional. However, learning more about high blood pressure and how to manage it can prevent problems from arising.


Management

Whether you are already dealing with high blood pressure or fear you might be at-risk for it, you can benefit from making changes in your lifestyle.
  • Implement healthy eating habits
    The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has created a flexible and balanced eating plan to promote heart health. Learn more about the DASH eating plan.
  • Stay active
    Studies have shown that physical activity can help lower and control high blood pressure. Talk to your doctor and discuss what exercise regimen is right for you.
  • Aim for a healthy weight
    Introducing exercise and healthier food options can significantly improve your weight. Even losing 3-5% of your weight can improve your blood pressure readings if you are overweight.
  • Quit smoking
    Both smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke increase the risk for buildup of plaque inside the arteries.
  • Take steps to reduce your stress
    Whether it’s taking on less responsibilities at your job, or just making sure you have more time for yourself, lowering your stress goes hand-in-hand with lowering your blood pressure.
  • Visit your doctor regularly
    Schedule regular checkups to monitor blood pressure readings, your overall health and your treatment plan.
  • Talk to your doctor about medications
    When healthy lifestyle changes alone aren’t helping control your high-blood pressure, your doctor may change or update your treatment plan by prescribing medicine.

Risk Factors

There are many factors that can put you at higher risk for blood pressure. While some factors can be changed, others are simply genetics. Here are things to look at if you are worried about high blood pressure:
  • Age
    As you get older, your blood vessels naturally thicken and stiffen, increasing the risk for high blood pressure.
  • Family history
    High blood pressure often runs in families. Research has identified many gene variations associated with small increases in the risk of developing high blood pressure. In addition, high sensitivity to sodium, which can run in families, also affects high blood pressure.
  • Race/Ethnicity
    African-American adults tend to have higher average blood pressure numbers and get high blood pressure earlier in life compared to other racial or ethnic groups.
  • Sex
    Before age 55, men are more likely than women to develop high blood pressure. After 55, women are more likely.
  • Weight
    Being overweight puts extra strain on your heart, increasing the risk for developing high blood pressure.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
    Poor eating habits (such as eating too much sodium), drinking too much alcohol and being physically inactive can increase the risk of high blood pressure.
Those with hypertension are at higher risk for:
  • Diseases such as chronic kidney disease, peripheral artery disease and vascular dementia
  • Heart failure
  • Aneurysms
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
Aneurysms, heart attacks and strokes all require immediate medical attention. If you are experiencing one of these emergencies, you can depend on St. Vincent Neighborhood Hospital.
Our innovative model and quick door-to-doctor time allow us to treat patients fast and efficiently. With multiple locations in and around Indianapolis, you can expect to see a doctor soon after you walk through our doors.

Find a St. Vincent Neighborhood Hospital location near you.

If are experiencing a life-threating emergency, go directly to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

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