We all know that our heart is a vital organ we need to care for. What we don’t see in front of us everyday is a silent threat beating beneath chests, jeopardizing our very existence. Precise Portions has discussed heart health in the past, and we a committed to helping a nation that is in need of resources to make the best choices for our hearts.
Your heart is like a pump that sends blood pumping through your vessels when it contracts. When blood vessels narrow or stiffen, high blood pressure can occur. When they get stiffer, they can resist the impact of the heart contractions. Your heart needs to maintain enough blood flow to the vital organs in your body, so the blood pressure increases to ensure this happens. Healthy arteries are flexible, strong and elastic. Their inner lining is smooth so that blood flows freely, supplying vital organs and tissues with adequate nutrients and oxygen. High blood pressure can increase the pressure and flow through those arteries and adversely affect the health of those arteries.
Hypertension (another name for high blood pressure) can lead to many serious health issues- with some resulting in life threatening outcomes. With the leading cause of death still holding strong in the U.S., heart disease (CDC data from 2010 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm) is an issue not to be taken lightly. Risk of high blood pressure begins to climb when men hit 45, although it can occur in younger men. High blood pressure can lead not just heart disease, but also and not limited to the following; dementia, stroke, a brain aneurysm, artery damage, kidney failure, kidney damage/scarring and mild cognitive impairment that can lead to Alzheimer’s.
In regards to prevention, we all know that diet plays a role. A lack of potassium and increase of sodium, and too much alcohol have all been found to increase the risk of high blood pressure. A high presence of stress for men and a decreased physical activity can both increase the danger of developing high blood pressure, as does being overweight or obese. Please, talk to your doctor about prevention and any concerns you may have about your heart.
To be proactive and prevent hypertension, here are a few tips:
Get the facts:
- Educate yourself on how to take and measure your own blood pressure.
- Find resources from your doctor on what a normal or healthy blood pressure should look like for your age.[can we link them to a page/chart?)
- Learn what techniques can be done to make your heart stronger and take a non-medicinal approach to high blood pressure.
Examine your lifestyle
- While it is hard to dramatically lose weight and aggressively shed pounds, studies have shown that even a 10lb weight loss can reduce blood pressure to a healthier level.
- Just like weight lifting can make your muscles stronger, regular cardio can actually strengthen your heart- the body’s most important muscle.
- Is there? one vice keeping you from the healthy blood pressure you deserve? Think about your stress, smoking habit, high cholesterol, depression, etc., and if one of these factors were minimized, you might greatly improve your health.
- While you may be eating a relatively balanced diet, you may be eating the wrong amounts of each type of food. Precise Portions has the solution to take the guesswork out of keeping track of the food allotments. Your heart will thank you when you are able to feed your body the right foods to nourish your heart and decrease the foods that will adversely affect your heart health- all without complete deprivation of your favorite foods!