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It’s World Hypertension Day today so let’s bring awareness to what it is and the best ways to treat it! Hypertension is another word for high blood pressure and is a common cardiovascular disease. So what defines hypertension? According to the CDC hypertension is where the pressure of your blood is higher than what is considered healthy and normal. Hypertension affects millions and while most people think it affects just adults, it also affects teens and children! That’s why it’s so important to discuss.
- 1 What Are Common Causes Of Hypertension?
- 2 Hypertension Symptoms
- 3 Exercise Lowers High Blood Pressure
- 4 Types Of Exercise For Hypertension
- 4.0.1 It’s recommended that people with hypertension engage in 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, ideally 5 days a week.
- 4.0.2 Treating and maintaining hypertension doesn’t have to be scary or hard! Simple lifestyle changes such as changing your diet and adding a physical routine can make tons of progress.
What Are Common Causes Of Hypertension?
What’s scary about hypertension is that often there are no warning signs or symptoms. It’s dubbed “The Silent Killer” as many people do not know they have it until it’s too late. Hypertension causes are often unknown but there are risk factors that increase the chances of having hypertension.
There are some factors that are out of your control and others within your control that add to the risk of hypertension.
Age: Being over 60 as blood pressure may increase as arteries become stiffer and narrower due to plaque build up, thus increasing the amount of pressure it takes for blood to circulate.
Alcohol and Tobacco Use: Consumption of alcohol or tobacco in large amounts regularly can increase a person’s blood pressure.
Size and Weight: being overweight or obese is a risk factor.
Existing Health Conditions: Cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, can contribute to hypertension, especially as people age.
Family History: If you have a family history of high blood pressure in addition to poorly managed stress, these factors can contribute as well.
Poor Diet and Lifestyle: Consumption of a salt-rich diet and processed fatty foods lead to higher levels of cholesterol, lack of physical exercise and low levels of potassium all can lead to hypertension.
There are two different types of hypertension. If hypertension is caused by multiple factors that include environmental, lifestyle, or blood plasma volume and activity from hormones that regulate blood volume or blood pressure it is called Primary Hypertension.
Secondary Hypertension results from specific causes and is a complication of another problem. These problems could include diabetes, kidney disease, pregnancy, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea and more.
While there are often no symptoms or signs you should still know some warning signs before it is too late.
High blood pressure can cause sweating, sleeping problems, anxiety, and blushing. In a hypertensive crisis, a person might experience:
- Nosebleeds or headaches
- High blood pressure symptoms like dizziness
- Irregular heartbeat
- Vision problems
- Fatigue or confusion
However, most people do not have any symptoms show so it is vital to regularly get your blood pressure checked.
Exercise Lowers High Blood Pressure
With hypertension being called the Silent Killer, it is so scary! What hypertension treatment is there to help lower the risk of a hypertensive crisis? As with many health-related issues, the answer is exercise! Is it safe to exercise with high blood pressure?
The answer is yes! By increasing your physical activity, you will be able to lower high blood pressure. Even if you work from 8-5 in an office, you can increase your activity level with a height adjustable desk in your office. Exercising will lower your blood pressure over time and reduce stress which is a huge contributor to high blood pressure.
Another way to reduce high blood pressure is by going on a high blood pressure diet. Processed foods, foods high in salt, alcohol, and caffeine all can contribute to high blood pressure. By reducing your intake of these foods you can lower your blood pressure.
A popular diet for high blood pressure is the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Keep a diary of your food intake, type and amount, boost your potassium by eating more fruits and vegetables, and carefully read food labels. It is advised to reduce fat intake as much as possible.
Other food recommendations for high blood pressure:
- Beans and nuts
- Omega 3-rich fish a couple of times a week
- Low-fat dairy products
- Skinless poultry
- High fibre grains
Types Of Exercise For Hypertension
People often want to know “How can I bring my blood pressure down naturally?” as medication can be expensive and unappealing. Exercise is a perfect example of a natural and effective way to help with hypertension, in addition to mostly being free or low cost!
It’s recommended that people with hypertension engage in 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, ideally 5 days a week.
Now, which exercise is best for lowering blood pressure? There are many to choose from, all with different benefits!
Going for a swim is low impact and is accessible to most people, especially senior citizens. Going three or four times over the course of a week can reduce blood pressure greatly according to a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology.
Taking a walk is a convenient way to exercise for those intimidated by the gym or not ready for higher activity exercise types. Going for a brisk walk around the neighbourhood can reduce hypertension. You could also go on a walk while on your lunch break during your workday. See our post on staying fit with a desk job for more tips. When you’re not at work, walking is also a great way to be social! Making a walking group can help with accountability.
Riding a bike is another great way to exercise. Just 30 minutes outside enjoying the sights can get your heart pumping. If you combine riding a bike with walking, weight lifting, and other aerobic exercises, you’ll be able to reap loads of benefits.
A weightlifting regiment is another form of exercise that can contribute to lowering high blood pressure. Remember to learn and use proper form, many people use a personal trainer when starting out. Breathe continuously during exercises, lift lighter weights more times, and listen to your body. It’s always best to check with your doctor before adding a weightlifting routine to your exercise regimen.
Treating and maintaining hypertension doesn’t have to be scary or hard! Simple lifestyle changes such as changing your diet and adding a physical routine can make tons of progress.
Doing something as easy as swapping out your regular desk and chair for a standing desk can help you stay active. See Zen Space Desks’ range of standing desks and pick one that best suits your office. Remember these tips and get your blood pressure checked regularly!