Blood pressure and your brain High blood pressure (hypertension) can affect your brain and heart. But these 5 steps can help you lower your blood pressure and protect your health.
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There is a reason to take your blood pressure every time you visit a clinic or hospital, regardless of the complaint that brought you there. High blood pressure is also known as the “silent killer”. It usually does not cause symptoms or warning signs but can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. The higher the number, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood around your body and the more likely you are to experience heart muscle damage. Because every part of your body relies on circulation, it’s not just your heart that can be affected by high blood pressure. If the blood does not flow easily, it can damage your blood vessels and vital organs like kidneys, eyes and brain.
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High blood pressure (or “hypertension”) has been shown to damage small blood vessels in areas of your brain responsible for cognition and memory, which increases the risk of stroke. Knowing you’ve had a heart attack can also have an emotional impact, affecting your outlook and making you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression. And just as blood pressure can affect your mood, the opposite can also be true:
Since the new guidelines published in 2017 have lowered the threshold for what should be considered high blood pressure, more and more people are at risk. In fact, nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure. Although high blood pressure is common, the good news is that it is easy to correct. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your score and help protect your heart and brain health.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) – kept from traditional mercury gauges used by the medical industry – and has two components:
The systolic number is recorded first, with the ideal blood pressure reading below 120/80 (called “120 over 80”). The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology define high blood pressure, or high blood pressure, as 130/80 or higher (systolic reading at least 130 mm Hg or diastolic reading at least 80 mm Hg, or both).
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Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, with highs and lows. In general, it will increase if you exercise or stay up late for a meeting, for example, and decrease when you sleep or relax with your partner. Since blood pressure can fluctuate greatly, if you have hypertension, you can monitor your blood pressure at home.
Choose a home blood pressure monitor that wraps around your upper arm. They are often more accurate than using your hands or fingers.
Do not drink caffeine or smoke for at least 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure. Sit quietly in a chair for a few minutes before measuring, then make sure your arms are supported and elbows are at heart level when you do the test.
Small changes can make a big difference. According to a Harvard study, high blood pressure can increase the risk of stroke by 220%. On the other hand, reducing your systolic blood pressure by 10 mm Hg can reduce your risk of stroke by up to 44%.
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Low blood pressure (also known as “hypotension”) is a less common problem than high blood pressure, but it can still have a significant effect on blood flow to the brain and increase the risk of stroke. for stroke, stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure.
There is no specific reading that defines low blood pressure. Doctors rely on the presence of symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, and confusion when standing to diagnose hypotension.
If you experience such symptoms, your doctor will look for an underlying cause such as a medication side effect, nutritional deficiency, or heart disease. In addition to a low-sodium diet, many lifestyle changes used to treat high blood pressure can also be effective in managing low blood pressure.
There is no single reason for high blood pressure, but many factors. Some are out of your control, such as age, race, gender, and family history – high blood pressure increases over the age of 70, affects more women than men over the age of 55, and is more common in African Americans than Caucasians. , probably due to genetic sensitivity to salt.
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Many risk factors for hypertension are within your control. Being overweight, eating a low-salt diet, smoking, drinking too much, and not exercising can all affect blood pressure.
It is also important to take the antihypertensive medication recommended by your doctor. There are many medications that can be used to control blood pressure, so if one drug causes unpleasant side effects, your doctor can help you find the one that works best for you.
Even if your doctor gives you medication to fight hypertension, controlling your weight, stopping smoking, improving your diet, managing stress, and regular exercise are important to keep your heart in shape and manage your blood pressure in the long term.
Once you have been diagnosed with heart disease or have experienced a serious medical event such as a stroke or heart attack, you may experience many emotional disturbances. It is important to give yourself time to reflect on the changes in your health and be kind to yourself as you adjust to your situation. But it’s also important to know that there are many things you can do to adapt to your illness and take control of your health.
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If you have high blood pressure, it’s easy to feel intimidated about the changes you need to make to improve your health. While some people may only need to work on one or two areas to lower their blood pressure – exercising more or stopping smoking, for example – most of us will find that we need to improve our lifestyle, at least in 3 or 4 areas. But even if you smoke, drink too much, are overweight, busy, sedentary, and only eat junk and processed food, that doesn’t mean you have to deal with everything at once. Making several lifestyle changes at once can be difficult. And when we feel tired, it’s easy to choose to do nothing instead of doing something.
Start slowly and make one or two changes to begin with. As this change becomes a habit, you can tackle one or two more, and so on. For example, you can decide to start by quitting smoking – and using relaxation techniques to help with stress quitting – and then move on to losing weight or improving your diet.
All thoughts are lost or not. Doing something, even a little, is better than doing nothing. If you eat healthy food during the week, for example, and then eat it on the weekend, your blood pressure and general health will be better than if you eat a diet every day.
Set specific goals. The more specific your goals are, the easier it is to stick to them. For example, instead of saying, “I’m going to eat healthier and exercise more,” try saying, “I’m going to eat two vegetables at dinner and take a 30-minute walk during my lunch hour.”
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Make a plan. Be as clear in your plans as you are in your goals. If your goal is to exercise, when will you do it? If you can’t find a 30-minute window in your day, schedule two 15-minute sessions. If your goal is to lose weight, make a plan to overcome cravings or manage your daily stress without focusing on food.
Change is a process. Changing your habits and lifestyle often happens gradually rather than all at once. Be patient with yourself and focus on your long-term goals, even on the days you feel down.
Prepare for setbacks and setbacks. No one always gets right. We all cheat on our diet from time to time, skip our workouts, or go back to unhealthy habits from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, focus on learning from your mistakes. Find out what is stopping you from changing your life and make a new plan.
If your high blood pressure is accompanied by health problems such as depression or anxiety, it can be more difficult to find the energy and motivation to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Just thinking about exercising or preparing a healthy meal, for example, can seem daunting. But by focusing all your efforts on one small change at a time, you will find that you can achieve more than you think.
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Take the first step. It can be as simple as walking or pulling a
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