High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition affecting millions worldwide. Blood pressure is measured by the force of the blood flow against your artery walls and the amount of blood your heart pumps. If this pressure becomes too high, it can strain your heart's wellbeing and can lead to serious health concerns, including kidney failure, stroke, and heart disease.
By making some wellness lifestyle changes, we can help ourselves to avoid falling victim to high blood pressure. These routine alterations can help keep our blood pressure at a healthy level and reduce our risk of developing hypertension, which is especially important if you have a family history of this issue.
What Are the Signs of High Blood Pressure?
While our focus should be mainly on preventing hypertension, it's important to know the signs and symptoms in case we do develop this condition. Unfortunately, high blood pressure doesn't always cause symptoms to show, which is why you may hear it referred to as the 'silent killer.'
Regular checkups with our doctor are very important, as they can detect high blood pressure before it leads to more serious health problems. You may want to consider purchasing an at-home blood pressure monitor, which may be beneficial if you previously had concerns about your blood pressure.
That said, here are some symptoms to be aware of that may indicate you have high blood pressure:
- Severe headaches
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue or dizziness
- Chest pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Blurred vision
If you experience any of these symptoms and are concerned, please schedule an appointment with your doctor.
How to Prevent High Blood Pressure
As we mentioned, lifestyle changes are the best way to prevent high blood pressure. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in keeping our blood pressure at an average level.
Take a Look at Your Diet
Have a think about the types of foods you're eating and whether or not they are suitable for your heart health. Foods that are high in salt, trans or saturated fat, and sugar can contribute to high blood pressure, so it's important to limit these foods in your diet. For example, when we eat foods high in salt, it causes water retention, which in turn increases our blood pressure. So, reducing our intake of salty foods can help reduce our blood pressure.
A healthy, preventative diet to help avoid high blood pressure should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains.
Manage Your Weight
Diet and weight management go hand in hand, so in doing one, you will also be doing the other. Carrying extra weight or being diagnosed as obese is a significant risk factor for developing hypertension, so maintaining a healthy weight is in your best interests.
Being overweight puts extra strain on our heart and circulatory system, leading to high blood pressure. Weight loss is one of the most effective preventative measures to lower your blood pressure, so a slight weight reduction can make all the difference.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Not only can alcohol affect your blood pressure, but it can also contain calories which you may not be aware of and can contribute to weight gain. When we drink alcohol, it causes our blood vessels to narrow, which can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure. If we drink a lot and often, this effect can become permanent and lead to long-term high blood pressure.
In the UK, alcohol is measured in units, with one unit equaling 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol. The NHS states that men and women should consume no more than 14 units a week. If you are drinking this amount, you should split it over many days to avoid 'binge drinking'.
Not only can alcohol harm your wellbeing but also your mental health. The best thing you can do for your wellness and blood pressure is to have several no-alcohol days or cut it out your lifestyle completely.
Long gone are the times when smoking was seen as glamorous. These days we know the dangers of smoking to our health and those around us. Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for developing high blood pressure as it damages your heart and blood vessels. It narrows your arteries and makes your heart work harder to pump blood around your body.
The good news is that it's never too late to stop smoking and improve your wellbeing. In as little as one day of quitting, your high blood pressure can begin to drop.
Exercise offers a whole host of wellness benefits, including improved physical wellbeing, mental health and prevention of high blood pressure! When we are active, our hearts pump faster, and our blood vessels open wider to deliver oxygen-rich blood to our muscles.
Regular exercise helps strengthen our heart muscles and more efficiently pump blood around our bodies. It also helps to keep our arteries healthy and flexible, which reduces the risk of them becoming blocked or narrowed. All of this helps to prevent or lower our blood pressure!
Reduce Stress Levels
Stress can have a significant impact on our blood pressure. When we're stressed, our bodies activate our 'fight or flight' mode, which can cause our heart rate and blood pressure to increase, giving us more energy to deal with the situation.
While some stress is unavoidable, there are things we can do to help manage it and keep our blood pressure under control. Exercise, relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation or aromatherapy, and spending time with loved ones can all help to reduce stress levels.
Final Thoughts on Preventing High Blood Pressure
It's important to remember that it's a high blood pressure condition that can often be managed with lifestyle changes. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension or think you may be at risk, talk to your doctor about the best way to improve your blood pressure and protect your health.
If stress is something you often deal with, consider adding aromatherapy into your daily routine! We offer a range of essential oils blends which can help promote relaxation and a sense of calm, helping to lower your blood pressure. Your wellness and overall wellbeing are important to us, which is why we offer the highest quality products for your aromatherapy needs!