When you ask someone to describe what sort of person they think suffers from high blood pressure or hypertension, they tend to imagine an older person, usually overweight and a heavy smoker or drinker.
This stereotypical image of a hypertension sufferer is one of the reasons that hypertension goes undetected in so many people.
The truth is hypertension can affect anyone, regardless of age, weight or lifestyle. This is why I recommend that you ask for a blood pressure test during your annual medical checkup.
What is Hypertension?
Blood pressure is the force that flowing blood exerts on the arteries, the measurement used to read blood pressure is "mm Hg". A normal blood pressure is in the range of 115/75 to 125/80 mm Hg, if blood pressure remains above that range for a sustained time it is considered hypertension.
What Causes Hypertension?
There are many factors that can cause hypertension, below are some of the most common.
High Salt Content in Diet – Salt acts both as a flavor enhancer and preservative, many fast and convenience foods contain high levels of salt.
Salt increases blood pressure because it increases thirst and causes the body to retain water. Some of this retained water is absorbed by blood cells, causing the volume of blood to be higher, your arteries, not used to this volume respond by narrowing. When the arteries narrow, the heart beats harder to force more blood through, this causes blood pressure to rise.
Excess Body Fat – Excess body fat is often seen around places like the abdomen, but it also builds up in areas that are not visible. Fat can form around internal organs, seriously impeding their function.
One place where a particularly dangerous fat build up can occur is in the arteries, fat in this area eventually hardens to form something called plaque. This plaque forms on the artery walls, taking up space so there is less room for blood flow.
The lack of space in the arteries causes the heart to respond by pumping harder to force more blood through, this causes hypertension.
Stress – While there is no evidence that stress is responsible for long term hypertension, stress can cause periods of elevated blood pressure. This is particularly problematic for anyone who is already suffering from hypertension.
Stressful situations make the body release a large amount of hormones that cause vasoconstriction. Vasoconstriction is when the blood vessels narrow, again, this makes the heart increase the force at which it pumps blood, meaning blood pressure levels will elevate.
Simple Ways of Avoiding Hypertension
Reduce Salt Content in Diet – This can be a simple as not putting the salt shaker on the table at meal times. Fast foods and processed foods contain high levels of salt, avoid these and try to eat more fresh produce.
Eat Foods that Lower Blood Pressure – Foods that contain vitamin B3 such as leafy green vegetables like broccoli, spinach and cabbage are effective at keeping blood pressure at normal levels. Vitamin B3 helps blood vessels stay relaxed, preventing vasoconstriction.
Exercise – Just 30 minutes of exercise per day can keep body fat levels normal and help to prevent the build up of plaque in the arteries.
Relax – If you suffer from stress, spending just 20 minutes a day relaxing can help to reduce blood pressure. Those who find it particularly hard to relax may benefit from taking yoga classes and trying meditation.
If you would like more information about hypertension and how to maintain a normal blood pressure, visit www.normalbloodpressurex.com.