With the onset of the COVID pandemic and the upcoming winter months bringing more and more people indoors, it’s about time to have a serious discussion regarding blood pressure. Around half of all Americans suffer from high blood pressure but a large portion remains unaware. High blood pressure, also known as Hypertension, is a deadly threat and a silent killer as most people show no obvious signs of illness. If left untreated, high blood pressure may lead but not limited to:
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
- Chest pain
- Vision loss
There are some factors that are hereditary in high blood pressure but a lot of contributing factors can be attributed to poor diet- those typically high in salt and fat, lack of exercise, high cholesterol, stress, drugs, and alcohol.
While normally there are stations found at pharmacies and drug stores that allow you to check your blood pressure automatically, current restrictions due to Covid may limit accessibility to use one of these devices. Fortunately, detecting high blood pressure is a relatively easy and straightforward process and blood pressure monitors are relatively inexpensive.
This chart explains the ranges of blood pressure and the level of concern related to each range of readings. The lower number shows the diastolic blood pressure which is what your blood pressure is in between each heartbeat. The top number indicates systolic blood pressure, which is your blood pressure during heartbeats leading to higher pressures. The systolic blood pressure is generally more noteworthy when looking at blood pressure as it’s a more likely indicator of potential cardiovascular disease in the future.
So now that we’ve established that high blood pressure is an issue, what can we do to stop it? Your physician can help by prescribing medication to lower your blood pressure but there are other methods that you can do at home to help. As mentioned before, poor diet and lack of exercise are factors to high blood pressure and are typically some of the highest contributors to elevated levels. Although it’s much harder to go to the gym because of Covid or to go on a run outside because it’s getting colder, it’s essential to maintain a proper level of fitness to maintain our health. Instead of getting take-out, try and cook a heart healthy meal tonight, your body will thank you later.
As someone afflicted with high blood pressure and at risk for hypertension, I understand that it’s difficult to maintain the lifestyle to keep blood pressure down. But the small sacrifices that we make now will pay off in the long run, leading to a healthier and more wholesome life.
Forbes Aggabao -Alexander’s Hope Intern