Staying Well With High Blood Pressure

By Kindred Healthcare

Staying Well With High Blood PressureEvery time you visit the doctor, chances are someone will check your blood pressure. This simple test screens for low or high blood pressure and provides your doctor with important information about your general health.

It's important to get tested for high blood pressure (hypertension) because it generally develops over time. Even when blood pressure is high, most people don't notice any signs or symptoms. Your heart and blood vessels can be damaged even without symptoms, though. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to other serious complications, such as heart failure or stroke.

The Mayo Clinic recommends a blood pressure test at least once every two years for those 18 and older. Your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent testing if you have a family history of high blood pressure or there are other risk factors.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic warn that high blood pressure "may also affect your ability to think, remember and learn." They add, "Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it."

Whether you're trying to prevent or control high blood pressure, the National Institutes of Health website on high blood pressure offers the same lifestyle advice, which includes:

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern
  • Reduce salt and sodium in your diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay physically active

 

If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, make sure you understand and follow the recommended treatment plan. This may include lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or losing weight, but could include taking medications such as diuretics or beta blockers. You'll also probably need to check your blood pressure at home. Home kits are easily available and you don't need a prescription to get one. The Mayo Clinic suggests that you talk to your doctor about getting started with monitoring your blood pressure at home.

Changes to your lifestyle could impact your family and other loved ones. Make sure you enlist their support in eating healthier meals and making exercise a part of your daily routine. If you're a caregiver for someone with high blood pressure, familiarize yourself with their medications, dietary changes and other treatment information.