High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease. Over 76 million people suffer from high blood pressure, and over 20% are unaware of their condition. This “silent killer” often has no symptoms and goes unnoticed by many until it is too late. In fact, approximately 77 percent of Americans treated for their first stroke and 69 percent of Americans who have their first heart attack have high blood pressure (140/80 or higher).
High blood pressure wreaks havoc in the body, causing blockages and blood clots that lead to strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, and heart failure. However, high blood pressure is manageable; simple changes can make a huge difference. While you may not be able to change your age or genetics, you can adopt a healthy lifestyle! The American Heart Association recommends these lifestyle modifications:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet and reducing sodium
- Engaging in regular physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Managing stress
- Limiting alcohol
- Avoiding tobacco
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is critical for both high blood pressure prevention and management. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can:
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Prevent or delay the onset of high blood pressure
- Enhance the effectiveness of blood pressure medications
- Reduce the risk of the stroke, heart attack, heart disease, and kidney disease
While there is no cure for high blood pressure, it is manageable and preventable!