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.
There’s a reason to measure your blood pressure every time you go to the doctor’s office or hospital, no matter what complaint brought you there. High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer”. It often has no symptoms or warning signs, but can greatly 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 it is to damage the heart muscle. Because all parts of your body depend on circulation, however, it’s not just your heart that can be affected by high blood pressure. If the blood doesn’t flow easily, it can damage your arteries as well as vital organs like the kidneys, eyes, and brain.
High blood pressure (or “hypertension”) damages the small blood vessels in the areas of your brain responsible for cognition and memory, greatly increasing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Being diagnosed with heart disease can also have an emotional impact, affecting your outlook and making you more susceptible to anxiety and depression. And just as blood pressure can affect your mood, the opposite can also be true.
Since new guidelines released in 2017 lowered the threshold for high blood pressure, more and more of us are at risk. In fact, about half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure. Although hypertension is very common, the good news is that it is also very easy to treat. In many cases, simple lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on your numbers and help protect both your heart and brain health.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), the traditional mercury gauge used by the medical industry, and has two components.
The systolic number is recorded first, and the ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80 (referred to as “80 of 120”). The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology define high blood pressure, or hypertension, as 130/80 or higher (a systolic reading of at least 130 mmHg or at least 80 mmHg or both).
Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, with many fluctuations. It will usually increase if, for example, you exercise or are late for a meeting, and decrease when you sleep or relax with loved ones. Because blood pressure can fluctuate so much, you can monitor your blood pressure at home if you have been diagnosed with hypertension.
Choose a home blood pressure monitor that wraps around your upper arm. They are more accurate than those that work on your wrist or finger.
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 the measurement, then make sure your arm is supported and your elbow is at heart level when taking the test.
Small changes can make a big difference. According to a Harvard study, hypertension can increase the risk of stroke by 220%. Conversely, lowering your systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg can reduce your risk of stroke by 44%.
Low blood pressure (known as “hypotension”) is a much less common problem than hypertension, but it can still significantly affect blood flow to the brain and increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure. from
There is no specific indicator that determines when blood pressure is too low. Instead, doctors rely on the presence of symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, and unsteadiness upon standing to diagnose hypotension.
If you experience these symptoms, your doctor will look for an underlying cause, such as medication side effects, nutritional deficiencies, or heart problems. In addition to a low-sodium diet, many of the lifestyle changes used to treat high blood pressure can also be effective in managing low blood pressure.
There is no single cause of high blood pressure, quite a few factors contribute. Some are beyond your control, such as age, race, gender, and family history; blood pressure increases after age 70, affects more women than men over age 55, and African Americans more than Caucasians. , probably due to genetic sensitivity to salt.
Many other risk factors for hypertension are within your control. Being overweight, eating a low-salt diet, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough exercise can all affect your blood pressure.
It is also important to take the antihypertensive medications recommended by your doctor. There are many different types of medication to control high blood pressure, so if a medication causes side effects, your doctor can help you find a more appropriate medication.
Although your doctor may also prescribe medication to help manage hypertension, controlling your weight, quitting smoking, improving your diet, managing stress, and exercising regularly can help keep your heart healthy and live longer. Time is of the essence in managing blood pressure.
If you’ve just been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or had a serious health event like a stroke or heart attack, you’re probably going through a lot of emotional upheaval. It’s important to give yourself time to process your health transition and be kind to yourself as you adjust to your new situation. But it’s also important to know that there are many things you can do to come to terms with your diagnosis and regain control of your health.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, it’s easy to be afraid of the changes you need to make to improve your health. While some people can only work on one or two areas to lower their blood pressure, such as exercising more or quitting smoking, most of us find that we need at least 3 or 4. Areas need to improve their habits. But even if you smoke, drink too much, are overweight, stressed, sedentary, and eat nothing but junk and processed food, that doesn’t mean you have to do everything at once. Making many different lifestyle changes at once can be overwhelming. And when we feel overwhelmed, it’s easier to choose not to do something than to do something.
Start slow and make one or two changes at first. Once those changes become a habit, you can tackle another one or two, and so on. For example, you may decide to start with quitting smoking and practice some relaxation techniques to relieve the stress of quitting, then move on to losing weight or improving your diet.
Don’t think all or nothing. Doing something, no matter how small, is always better than doing nothing. If you eat healthy during the week, for example, and then pick up on the weekend, your blood pressure and overall health will still be in better shape if you eat every day.
Set specific goals. The more specific your goal is, the easier it will be to stick to it. For example, instead of saying, “I’m going to eat healthier and exercise more,” try saying, “I’m going to add two servings of vegetables to my evening meal and take a 30-minute walk during my lunch hour.”
Create a plan. Be as specific 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 instead. If your goal is to lose weight, plan to overcome cravings or manage your daily stress without turning to food.
Change is a process. Changing your habits and lifestyle doesn’t happen all at once, but in stages. Be patient with yourself and focus on your long-term goals, even on days when you feel down.
Be prepared for rebounds and setbacks. No one gets it right all the time. We all cheat on our diet from time to time, skip exercise, or fall back on unhealthy habits from time to time. Don’t kill yourself. Instead, recover from a relapse by learning from your mistake. Discover what has been holding you back from changing your lifestyle and create a new plan.
If your high blood pressure is combined with mental health issues like depression or anxiety, it can be even harder to find the energy and motivation to make the lifestyle changes you need. For example, thinking about exercising or preparing healthy meals can seem overwhelming. But by focusing all your efforts on one small change at a time, you’ll realize you’re capable of more than you realize.
Take the first step. It can be as simple as walking or downloading
How much sodium to lower blood pressure, eating too much sodium, eating too much sodium effects, eating too much sodium symptoms, eating to lower blood pressure, how to lower blood pressure after eating too much salt, is blood pressure lower after eating, can magnesium lower blood pressure too much, how much sodium per day to lower blood pressure, how to lower blood pressure after eating, how much sodium is too much for high blood pressure, how much sodium a day to lower blood pressure