When It Comes to Blood Pressure We Are All Unique (But a Healthy Lifestyle Is Key)
Hypertension is a cardiovascular disease and if not tended to properly, it may cause complications affecting many organs including the heart and blood vessels. This condition strikes men more often than women.
There is no unified list of hypertension symptoms, so they may vary from person to person and most commonly people complain of headaches and dizziness. To see whether or not you have hypertension you should check your blood pressure at least twice a day, always following 10 minutes of rest.
It has been clearly and irrefutably proven that high blood pressure is the primary cause of stroke. In addition, it is one of the most significant risk factors for heart attack, which, as you may know, has the highest mortality rate worldwide. This is why blood pressure figures are so important.
It used to be widely accepted that 140/90 mm Hg was the maximum healthy pressure for patients with hypertension, which meant that people diagnosed with the condition had to reduce their pressure with the help of medication to the mentioned figures, or lower. But in 2013 things changed and, as a result of numerous studies, a unified approach was proven wrong. Therefore, there is no such thing as ideal blood pressure.
The extent to which blood pressure needs to be reduced depends on the following:
- A history of strokes or heart attacks. If a patient has suffered from these conditions caused by hypertension, even in its “light” form, then he/she should be treated differently from those who have never had a stroke or a heart attack. Unfortunately, like the overwhelming majority of patients, doctors rarely take this into account.
- Age. According to current medical advice, if a person is aged between 60 and 80 and his or her upper pressure number is within 140–150 mm Hg range, while the lower pressure number is about 90 mm Hg, there is no need to reduce the pressure.
At the same time, there seems to be a tendency to allow more variety in blood pressure figures for people of older age. It should, however, be noted that milder requirements apply only if a patient has no history of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, or other considerable risk factors. According to the new data, if you are over 65–70, you need to get blood pressure medication only if your pressure figures exceed 160 mm Hg.
Nevertheless, while at the age of 60 blood pressure numbers of 140/90 are acceptable, at the age of 35 they are extremely dangerous. Why? Because as people age, blood vessels grow stiffer, and blood pressure increases gradually, which lets the body get used to the changes. But if the increase in pressure occurs at the age of 35, the body experiences a shock, and the cause of such “unnatural” pressure rise is always a serious disorder which may lead to a heart attack or stroke at a young age.
Whatever your situation is, the following RULE always applies: the older you are when hypertension occurs for the first time, the less dangerous it is. It’s also important to keep in mind that blood pressure that reaches 140/90 at an age younger than 60 is always very dangerous and requires proper treatment.
Experts from the World Health Organization have calculated the number of years of life lost due to the main factors damaging the cardiovascular system:
- Increased blood pressure – 16.9 years
- Alcohol abuse – 15.4 years
- Smoking – 13.8 years
- Excess of bad cholesterol – 12.4 years (Cholesterol must be reduced)
- Excess weight – 8.9 years
- Insufficient consumption of vegetables and fruits – 6.9 years
- Physical inactivity – 4.6 years.
A healthy lifestyle is an essential prevention tool which can save you the trouble of dealing with many diseases, including hypertension. It is a well-known fact that healthy habits may prove effective in controlling blood pressure, but do you know which behavior yields the most significant result?
In a study of the influence of a healthy lifestyle on blood vessels, the following five key healthy behaviors were singled out:
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing alcohol consumption to a maximum of 7 drinks a week for women and 14 for men
- Proper nutrition
- Proper level of physical activity (at least 150 minutes of exercise of moderate or higher intensity)
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
Maintaining a healthy weight proved to be the most effective in decreasing blood pressure. According to the study, people who maintained their weight at a healthy level ran a 41% lower risk of developing hypertension at an older age. If a participant adhered to the other four behaviors, the risk of hypertension decreased by 27%. While abstinence from alcohol and tobacco showed an insignificant influence on blood pressure, proper nutrition and regular exercising alone had no direct influence whatsoever.
Therefore, a healthy weight proved to be the key factor in keeping the heart and blood vessels healthy. Quite obviously, proper nutrition and physical activity are vital aspects for keeping fit and living longer.
How To Know You’re Overdoing It?
All you need to do is put on your favorite or newly-purchased fitness tracker, sign in to our app and let us help you keep your blood pressure in check by measuring it regularly and saving the readouts.
Once you are registered and your individual physical data are taken for further calculation of blood pressure rates that will represent YOUR PERSONAL NORM, the application will continuously monitor further dynamics of changes. In our next release, we will notify you of any deviations from your ideal blood pressure rate!