By: Janet Hunt
As a fitness professional, I know blood pressure needs to be measured regularly and must be controlled. High blood pressure (HBP) is dangerous because it increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart failure, kidney failure, peripheral arterial disease, and may enhance the likelihood of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Only 50% of people in this country with high blood pressure are diagnosed and treated, which increases our health care costs significantly.
High blood pressure means the pressure in your arteries is elevated. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against blood vessel walls. It is written as two numbers, such as 130/80 mm Hg. The first number, systolic, is the pressure when the heart beats. The second number, diastolic, is the pressure when the heart rests between beats.
High blood pressure usually cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. High blood pressure has no symptoms. It is called the “silent killer.” Not treating high blood pressures is dangerous.
Who is at risk:
- People that have family members with HBP
- African Americans
- People over 35
- People overweight or obese
- People who are not physically active
- People who drink too much alcohol
- People with diabetes or kidney disease
- Pregnant women
- Women who take birth control pills
How to reduce HBP:
- Lose weight, if overweight
- Follow the “heart healthy” diet
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Take medication as prescribed
- Become more physically active. Minimum recommended is 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous.
How to become more active:
An inactive lifestyle is a risk factor for HBP, heart disease, stroke and more. Inactivity also tends to add to obesity, which is another risk factor. If you are inactive and wish to start an exercise program, begin slowly and do something you will enjoy and you will continue. Talk to a personal trainer to get some suggestions. First, decide if you need someone to be accountable to. If not, perhaps you are one of the few that are self-motivated. If you like a social atmosphere, perhaps classes are a good choice. If you are totally new to exercise and need someone to be accountable to, perhaps you should consider working with a personal trainer.
For more information about fitness options, call Janet Hunt, an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer at 256-614-3530.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.