As we celebrate American Heart Month this February, our focus is on heart health. We encourage all of our patients to know their blood pressure and, if it is high, to make blood pressure control their goal.
The heart beats at an average rate of 60-80 beats per minute, which can add up to millions of beats in a single month. It is critical that when anything works this hard, it also operates efficiently. The heart pushes blood and oxygen to every cell in the body to be used as fuel and carries waste away. Without this process, the body cannot function. The heart plays a role in many aspects of your health and wellness.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. When compared to people with normal blood pressure, those with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease.
According to the Office of Disease Prevention, you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by making healthy lifestyle changes. Controlling and preventing risk factors is equally important for people who already have heart disease.
Ways to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure:
- Quit or avoid smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
- Watch your weight
- Stay active
- Eat healthy
- Lower your stress levels
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
Click here to visit the American Heart Association, which provides great resources, including tips on staying active!
High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why it is critical to check your blood pressure regularly. It’s easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened at your doctor’s office and drugstore or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure, May Include:
- chest pain
- irregular heartbeat
- vision problems
- severe headaches
- difficulty breathing
Controlling High Blood Pressure:
- Ask your doctor about what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your blood pressure with your doctor and discuss how you plan to achieve it. Work with your healthcare team to ensure that you meet that goal. Keep a record of your blood pressure over time.
- Take your blood pressure medicine as prescribed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medication at the same time every day. If you are having trouble taking your medicine on time, paying for your modifications, or experiencing side effects, ask your doctor for help.
- Quit smoking – and if you don’t smoke, don’t start. You can find tips and resources on the CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco website.
- Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure.
Physical Therapy for High Blood Pressure:
Physical therapy can help you lower your blood pressure by adopting lifestyle changes. High blood pressure can be controlled with exercise. Exercise helps lower blood pressure because it improves your cardiovascular system. Any form of physical activity can strengthen your heart, and a strong heart uses less energy to pump blood throughout the body. At Achieve Physical Therapy we can help your stay motivated and active. Our physical therapist will evaluate you and help design a unique regimen tailored to your specific needs.
Your body will suffer the longer you wait!