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Get Control of Hypertension

hypertensionWe’re now over one full month into the new year. How are you doing with reaching your health goals? Hopefully you are happy with the progress you’re making, and the enthusiasm and energy you’ve gained from being a healthier you will help carry you through yet another month.

But what if you haven’t quite gotten around to starting those feel-good goals yet? There might be an inner voice telling you it’s time to get off the couch and go to the gym. You’re convinced that every cigarette you smoke or alcoholic drink you ingest really is going to be your last. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to drop a few pounds around the midsection either.

As much as making lifestyle changes like these will help you feel better mentally and physically, they may also save your life. Smoking, drinking excessively, living a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight are only a few of the factors that can lead to hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Add to that having diabetes, aging, ingesting high levels of salt, stress, genetics, thyroid problems, lack of vitamin D and insufficient consumption of calcium, potassium and magnesium and it might seem like we’re all doomed to live a life of high blood pressure.

Unfortunately, the fact is that 73 million adults and two million teens and children already are. And there’s a reason why hypertension is known as the “silent killer”: Nearly one-third of people with it do not even know they have it. The good news is that there’s something they—and you—can do about it. In fact, getting a handle on high blood pressure is one of the main things you can do to greatly increase the length and quality of your life.

Before understanding what you can do to protect yourself from high blood pressure, it’s important to understand what it is. Hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure in the body’s arteries is elevated, thus causing stress on the walls of the blood vessels. This high pressure forces the heart to work harder, which can lead to organ damage or a number of illnesses, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, aneurysm or renal failure.

So how can you ensure you aren’t struck down by the silent killer? Because there are no symptoms for hypertension, it can sneak up on people without them being aware of it … unless they begin a regimen of early detection. Blood pressure can be measured by a nurse, physician or even yourself, and a measurement should be taken at least once a year. The normal level for blood pressure is below 120/80. Anything above 140/90 is considered hypertension.

While blood pressure measurements are the key to detection, there are many things you can incorporate into your lifestyle to help prevent high blood pressure from even being an issue. Sticking by those New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, limit alcohol intake and exercise regularly are all things you can do to minimize your risk of hypertension. And consider reducing your sodium intake and eating a more healthful diet as well. Chiropractic care has also been shown to help reduce hypertension.

It’s never too early to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle that will reduce your risk of hypertension. Find out more by attending our monthly lecture series at The Specific Chiropractor Center. This month’s class, “Hypertension – You are not Alone!” will be held on Wednesday, February 24th at 6:30 pm. Please call 1-888-722-4467 to reserve your space at your nearest Specific Chiropractic Center.

References:

Healthy Aging: Hypertension – Silent Killer. MUSCHealth.com. Retrieved February 1, 2010 from http://www.muschealth.com/healthyaging/hypertension.htm

What is Hypertension? What Causes Hypertension? MedicalNewsToday.com. (May 15, 2009) Retrieved February 1, 2010 fromhttp://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150109.php