May 29, 2019
Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels.
High blood pressure means that there is too much pressure in the blood vessels which, over time, can damage the blood vessels and organs.
Hypertension is a specific condition in which blood pressure (BP) measures consistently higher than normal. Hypertension is often called “the silent killer” as it has no warning signs or symptoms and can only be diagnosed through blood pressure measurement.
Hypertension can affect anyone and is more common as we age.
Uncontrolled hypertension increases the risk of:
eye problems (retinopathy)
Managing your Blood Pressure
Lifestyle strategies used to prevent hypertension are often the same as those needed to control it.
Blood pressure is highly responsive to healthy behaviours, and some people may be able to control their blood pressure without medication. Others cannot, through no fault of their own, and will require medication to lower their blood pressure to a safe range. It’s important to note that medication never replaces healthy behaviours. Healthy behaviours and taking medication as directed go hand-in-hand in controlling blood pressure and reducing health risks. (Hypertension Canada, 2019)
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and decreased amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, losing weight (if you are overweight) and increasing your exercise such as a brisk walk of 30-45 minutes daily.
Salt (sodium) makes your body retain water. If you eat too much, the extra water stored in your body raises your blood pressure. Cutting back on salt in your diet is one of the best ways to help curb your blood pressure, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension. A general rule of thumb: buy products that are labelled with ≤5% daily value of sodium.
Hypertension Control tips:
Adopt all of the prevention tips and keep at them. They’re as important as medication.
Adopt the DASH diet and limit your sodium/salt intake
Take medication as directed and report side effects to your health care professional.
Do not stop taking your medication without first speaking to your health care professional
— unless you are having an allergic reaction.
Know what your target blood pressure should be.
Monitor your blood pressure at home, using proper technique, to see your progress.
Make sure you have the right size blood pressure cuff.
Have your home blood pressure monitor checked yearly for accuracy.
Keep a blood pressure log and show it to your health care professional at every appointment. (Hypertension Canada, 2019)
Please speak to your regular health care provider for more information on Hypertension.
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