How High Blood Pressure Affects Your Heart
In late 2017 the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) published new guidelines for what constitutes high blood pressure (hypertension). The new guidelines effectively put a number of Americans above the threshold for what was considered a “safe” blood pressure reading.
Before the new guidelines, only 1 in 3 American adult, or 33% of the population, were considered to have high blood pressure. At that time, high blood pressure was defined as a blood pressure reading of 140/90mmHg (millimeters of mercury). Today with the new guidelines, high blood pressure is defined as a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mmHg or higher.
The new guidelines appeared in an article published in November 2017 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Under the new guidelines, blood pressure categories are now defined as follows:
- Normal: Less than 120/80 mmHg
- Elevated: Systolic between 120 and 129 and diastolic less than 80
- Stage 1 hypertension: Systolic between 130 and 139 or diastolic between 80 and 89
- Stage 2 hypertension: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mmHg
- Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 or diastolic over 120, which requires prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.
What does this mean for your heart?
Well, high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause life-threatening problems including:
- Heart attack — High blood pressure damages arteries that can become blocked and prevent blood from flowing to tissues in the heart muscle.
- Stroke — High blood pressure can cause blood vessels in the brain to burst or clog more easily.
- Heart failure — the increased workload from high blood pressure can cause the heart to enlarge and fail to supply blood to the body.
- Angina — overtime, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease or microvascular disease. Angina, or chest pain, is a common symptom.
How do you lower your blood pressure?
There are many lifestyle changes that can lower your high blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. The Mayo-Clinic has a great list of simple changes in your daily life to lower your blood pressure:
Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline. Blood pressure often increases as weight increases
Eat a healthy diet
Reduce sodium in your diet
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
Cut back on Caffeine
Reduce your Stress
Monitor your blood pressure and get checkups regularly
Get Support (from the h-life!)
FOODS RICH IN POTASSIUM THAT LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE:
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