Oftentimes, people associate hypertension or high blood pressure only to “old age,” which is a common misconception. Although being at the older age range puts you at higher risk of getting high blood pressure, there are other contributing factors, such as lifestyle and genetics.
First, let’s talk genetics or family history. A family history of having high blood pressure is just one of the three things that can put you at higher risk of getting it as well. I can certainly relate with this one. High blood pressure is written all over my family’s health history. On my mother’s family side, her father passed away in his late 50s because of uncontrolled hypertension. Several years later, two of my mother’s younger siblings passed away of the same thing. My father’s dad on the other end, passed away of heart problem (heart attack) in his late early 60s. Heart attack, blindness, kidney problems and heart failures are complications you can get from having hypertension or high blood pressure. The other two factors that can put you at greater risk of getting high blood pressure are, if you are born of African American descent, as well as people 55 years old or older.
Now that you know about the three risk factors of getting a high blood pressure, the choice is all up to you. You can either sit and wait and just let it happen, or become proactive about it and try to do something with your life now, thus, helping you lower your chance of getting it later. The best thing about being proactive with your health is, it actually helps you financially in the long run. Keeping yourself healthy actually help you cut healthcare expenses. The right time to start being proactive is now, don’t wait until your doctor tells you otherwise. Think preventive and become your own health advocate. Do not be in the habit of just seeing your doctor when you are not feeling well, this another common misconception out there. Healthcare professionals do not only treat sick people, they are the key resources in promoting health and wellness in every community.
Now, let’s get proactive and learn the five things that can help you lower your chance of getting high blood pressure later. Think lifestyle, a healthier lifestyle. Having a healthier lifestyle does not mean living your life in black and white. A healthier lifestyle means “everything in moderation.” Please understand that certain food and alcohol consumption is acceptable. One thing that will never be acceptable and would require you to seek a healthcare professionals assistance would be the use of “illicit drugs.”
The first thing you should incorporate into your “healthier” lifestyle is to get into the habit of seeing your primary care physician at least once a year. Aside from the yearly physical examination, talk to your doctor about your family health history. In doing so, you are being proactive with your health, your doctor in return, will order specific laboratory tests that will help him evaluate your overall health status. In your annual doctor’s visit, your blood pressure will be taken, and if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure in the past, your doctor will also check how well your body is responding with your current blood pressure medications.
The second thing you should add in your “healthier” lifestyle is staying physically active. It does not have to be the same old workout regime every single day, or a tedious exercise routine. I do not even like to use the terms “workout and exercise” anymore since a lot of us relate these two words with the “boredom” and “tedious.” Keeping yourself physically active can help you maintain a healthier weight. One thing that works for me is participating in charity walks and marathons, these are two activities that keep me healthy, physically active and happy at the same time.
The third thing you should do is develop a healthier eating habit. As a mentioned above, you can still enjoy your favorite foods such as, fries and other salty foods every now and then, but, only in moderation. Eating six small meals a day is better than starving yourself all day. Overeating does not only add up pounds, but, could also be because of some underlying problems, such as depression and anxiety. If this is the case, you should seek an assistance of healthcare professional right away.
The fourth thing to do is cut down or limit alcohol intake in your diet. A glass of wine or a bottle of beer at the end of your long work day is healthier than getting yourself wasted and drunk at a party. If you find yourself not being able to have a great time at a party without any alcohol booze in your system, then it is probably something serious that would require a bigger intervention. Again, consulting a healthcare professional can help you deal with this better. Excessive drinking leads to high blood pressure and high blood pressure leads to other illnesses such as heart failure, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and liver failure to name a few.
The last thing you should do now that can help you lower your chance of getting a high blood pressure later is no other than quitting smoking, or not smoking at all. Smoking is unhealthy. It is something that is not done “in moderation.” When you smoke, not only are you putting yourself at a greater risk of getting high blood pressure, you are also contributing to “second-hand smoking,” in other words, you are making other people sick as well. High blood pressure and respiratory problems are some of the common illnesses that can be preventable if you stop smoking right now.
Hypertension should not be taken lightly. Now that you have read this article, you should start thinking about your health. You can be your own health advocate, but you can also be your own worst enemy when it comes to your health. In the end, you have yourself to thank for a better you and a healthier lifestyle!
For more helpful information about blood pressure management, please see National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have medical questions or concerns, please seek the advice of your primary care physician.