Driving anywhere on I-35 is enough to make anyone’s blood pressure skyrocket. Can you stay heart healthy in Austin just by avoiding traffic@f0 If you don’t feel the high blood pressure, is it harmful? How?
The answers: blood pressures over 140/90 are often not felt but are damaging. High pressures put a lot of stress on organs causing problems over time – by the time symptoms arise, some damage is irreversible.
Blood Pressure is the pressure measured within the arteries in your vascular system. If the pressure is too low, the overall blood flow is not enough to deliver oxygen to your organs causing weakness, fatigue, light-headedness or loss of consciousness. If the pressure is too high, the organs (especially heart, brain, and kidneys) are pounded by high pressures and damages occur. Over time, the damage on the brain can lead to strokes and dementia. Heart attacks and heart failure can occur, and kidney failure is a possibility.
What can you do?
1. Know your blood pressure. Ask your doctor. Check it at the grocery/drug store – these machines are reliable. You should be sitting in the same position for 3 minutes before taking your pressure – which can seem like a long time in the middle of HEB!
2. Avoid salt. This means avoid salty foods – most people don’t get as much salt from the shaker as they do from what’s already in food. Surprisingly, bread products have a lot of salt. So do snack foods like chips, pretzels, crackers. Fast food is FULL of it – just avoid it for so many reasons. Salt makes you retain fluid and increases blood pressure. If you avoid salt, you can often avoid blood pressure medication.
3. Walk. Exercise can lower blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight helps keep blood pressure under better control.
4. Get new parents. Kidding. Actually, high blood pressure is very genetic. You can take great care of yourself and still require medication to keep blood pressure at goal. Don’t get frustrated. If you are in good health and still need blood pressure medications, imagine how hard it would be to control your pressure in a state of poor health!
5. Talk with your doctor about medication. There are many types of blood pressure medications. We know that they work and prevent a lot of the damaging effects of high blood pressure. Some of them can actually reverse the changes. If you don’t tolerate one medication, don’t give up. Everyone is different and responds to medications differently. Talk with your doctor again and try something else.