Blog Post

4 Smart Ways to Manage High Blood Pressure

Whether you just got your high blood pressure diagnosis or you've recently learned that you're at risk, it's not easy to hear that you have a health problem, especially when you feel you've 

been diligent about taking care of yourself. 

Dr. Fahmi Farah and our team at Bentley Heart have seen firsthand the destructive path of uncontrolled high blood pressure. While there's no cure for high blood pressure, there are many things you can do to control it. 

What exactly is high blood pressure?

Your blood pressure is simply an indicator of how forcefully blood pushes up against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps. If you have high blood pressure, the force is higher than normal. 

We measure blood pressure with two numbers. The first number is your systolic pressure, the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number is your diastolic pressure, which refers to the force of blood in your arteries while your heart is relaxed between beats.

Your systolic pressure is always higher than your diastolic pressure. If your blood pressure is normal, you'll have a reading of 120/80 or lower. You cross over into stage 1 high blood pressure when you hit 130/80 and stage 2 at 140/90.

If your blood pressure reaches 180/110, you're in a hypertensive crisis and need emergency medical attention. 

High blood pressure is one of the country's most pervasive health problems. Being overweight, living a sedentary lifestyle, consuming too much alcohol, and eating a high-sodium diet are all risk factors for high blood pressure. And unfortunately, many in our country fit that description.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly half of the adults in the U.S. have stage 1 high blood pressure, only about 24% of adults with high blood pressure have it under control, and about half of the people who have uncontrolled cases are officially stage 2. 

Why is high blood pressure so dangerous?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. We call it the "silent killer" because it can go undetected for years, wreaking havoc on your cardiovascular system. 

The longer your heart, veins, and arteries deal with intense pressure, the more you risk serious complications. Left unchecked, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, heart disease, congestive heart failure, and aneurysms. It can also affect your brain, eye, kidney, and even your sexual health. 

As you can see, high blood pressure is a whole-health problem. But follow these simple strategies and you can see a significant improvement in your heart and overall health. 

1. Exercise regularly

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage high blood pressure. When you exercise, your heart strengthens, and your blood vessels become more flexible. As a result, your blood flows more efficiently, reducing the stress on your arteries.

Don't worry — you don't have to start intense workouts to reap the benefits. Moderate, low- or no-impact exercises like walking, cycling, or swimming can all have the same effect. Worry less about the type of exercise you’re doing and more about consistency — aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week.

2. Follow a healthy diet

Another great place to start is with your diet. Limit your intake of salt, processed foods, and saturated fats. Instead, focus on filling your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a simple plan to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products and encourages limiting red meat, sugar, and saturated fats.

3. Manage stress

Stress is a blood pressure antagonizer, and chronic, unmanaged stress can lead to difficult-to-control hypertension, so managing your stress should be a top priority..

There are many ways to reduce stress, such as practicing yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or walking in nature. Consider finding an activity you enjoy and making it a part of your daily routine.

4. Keep an eye on things

Monitoring your blood pressure is essential for managing hypertension. You can purchase a home blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure regularly or head to your local pharmacy, where they do it for free. We also take your blood pressure at every appointment, so seeing us regularly is another good way to know your status.

For many, a diligent lifestyle change is enough to get high blood pressure under control, but if your blood pressure is consistently high, we recommend adding medication to your treatment plan. 

If you'd like help getting started managing your high blood pressure, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at our Fort Worth, Texas, office.