High blood pressure is extremely common, affecting an estimated one out of three Americans. Reducing high blood pressure is a top concern for doctors and those who govern public health care.
Sometimes this condition strikes a person who may already be in poor health (such as being overweight). However, it frequently affects people who otherwise have no obvious health issues. This is one reason that the Centers for Disease Control recommend that you have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Regular checks are the only sure way to tell whether you are afflicted. If you wait until symptoms appear, you may already have done irreversible damage to your health.
If you have an elevated reading, reducing high blood pressure should be a top priority. Here are three reasons doctors say reducing high blood pressure is crucial to your quality of life.
1) It reduces your risk of heart disease. Reducing high blood pressure is crucial to your heart’s health. Those with elevated readings are much more likely to develop coronary heart disease and congestive heart failure. They are also more likely than someone with consistently normal levels to experience a heart attack.
Over 616,000 people died from heart disease in 2007, according to the CDC. In fact, heart disease was the number one killer of Americans in 2007. The CDC predicts that heart disease will keep that top spot as final data for subsequent years becomes finalized.
The bottom line: heart disease kills. If you have it, you’ll most likely eventually die from it. The best way to treat it is to avoid it. Reducing high blood pressure is one of the simplest ways to do this.
2) It reduces your risk of stroke. Stroke, or cerebrovascular disease, was the third leading cause of death in the US as of 2007. A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function. It occurs due to one of two things. One is the interruption of blood flow to the brain (ischemic stroke). The other is when blood vessels in the brain rupture (hemorrhagic stroke).
The extent of the damage depends on what part of the brain was actually injured. It also depends on how long the brain is deprived of oxygen. The longer treatment is delayed, the more permanent and extensive the damage will be.
A stroke that doesn’t result in death almost always leaves lasting damage of some kind. Sometimes the damage is mild, other times it can be devastating (such as a permanent loss of speech).
Reducing high blood pressure will significantly reduce your risk of having a stroke. You’ll be spared not only from the risk of death, but of ongoing health issues that a stroke may entail.
3) It reduces your risk of kidney disease. About 4.5 million people were living with diagnosed kidney disease in the US in 2007 according to the CDC. Though kidney disease doesn’t claim as many lives as heart disease and stroke, it’s still a devastating health crisis.
Over 46,000 people died from kidney disease in 2007. In addition to death, kidney disease puts you at risk of kidney failure. There aren’t nearly enough donor kidneys to meet the needs of patients who suffer kidney failure.
Damage to the kidneys typically cannot be reversed. Reducing high blood pressure is one easy way to help ensure that your kidneys stay healthy for life.
4) Catching pre-hypertension before it turns sinister. Your blood pressure is considered normal when your systolic pressure is 120 or less and diastolic is 80 or less. (Referred to as 120 over 80.)
It’s considered to be in the high range when your systolic reading is 140 or more and your diastolic reading is 90 or above. Pre-hypertension is diagnosed when your reading falls somewhere in between ‘normal’ and ‘high.’
People with pre-hypertension are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure than those with consistently normal readings. The higher the numbers climb, the more the risk increases.
Reducing high blood pressure almost always requires treatment with high blood pressure medication. Many of today’s medications are very effective at reducing high blood pressure. However, they sometimes come at a cost in the form of unpleasant or even risky side effects.
That’s why prevention is a much better solution than reducing high blood pressure after the fact. This is particularly true if you find yourself in the pre-hypertension stage. Exercise and a healthy diet are two easy ways to prevent an elevated reading. Using a natural supplement containing known heart health ingredients (such as holly leaf, daikon seed, hawthorn berry and garlic extract) can also be helpful.