A recent study from the University of North Carolina found that about one in five young adults, between the ages 24 and 32, has high blood pressure, referred to as hypertension in medical terminology. The concerning part about this rise is that many of those at risk are unaware of this health issue, making this statistic extremely scary since hypertension is a medical condition that can have serious consequences. To learn more about hypertension and its medical consequences and how you can prevent hypertension, keep reading!
With American Heart Month coming to an end, I'd like to urge you to get your blood pressure checked. According to a new report from the Institute of Medicine, hypertension — aka high blood pressure — is becoming a neglected disease. When the doctor slips the Velcro cuff on and off of our arm, it's easy to zone out, but consider this: one in three American adults has hypertension and one in six will die from hypertension-related complications like a stroke or heart disease.
Although the exact cause of high blood pressure is unknown, there are many contributing factors to the condition. Here are a few things you can do to avoid becoming part of the deadly statistic.
- Lay off the salt. Ninety percent of American adults consume more than the RDA of sodium of one teaspoon per day. Not entirely shocking when you consider the salt content in most processed or restaurant-made foods is through the roof. To keep your salt intake in check, make an effort to check the sodium content of the foods you buy at the grocery store, ask that your food be prepared with less salt when dining out, and go homemade whenever you can.
- Relax. Stress is a contributing factor to high blood pressure. Make sure you have a way to decompress from all of life's little knots that can get tied up in you. Exercise, massage, sex, getting enough sleep, and meditation are great starts to a calmer you.
To find out four other ways you can prevent high blood pressure, read more
In the past 20 years alone, Americans have increased fructose intake by 30 percent, and that increase tracks closely to the rise in obesity. But it may also be contributing to high blood pressure. A team of doctors at the University of Colorado Denver studied more than 4,500 adults with no prior history of hypertension and tracked their fructose intake with a dietary survey. The results are pretty persuasive, so read all about it.
So start consuming whole grains regularly such as farro, millet, quinoa, barley, and bulgar. Add oats to your yogurt or cookie recipes, eat rice with your beans, enjoy popcorn with your movie, and opt for breads, pastas, and cereals that are made with whole grains. It's recommended to eat at least three ounces (85 grams) of whole grains a day. Do you get that much?
If you're stressed out or overworked, it's not uncommon to miss an hour or two of sleep each night. It may be doing more harm than you think. Besides making you cranky in the morning, new research shows that missing sleep regularly can lead to high blood pressure. Adults in the study who missed an average of an hour of sleep each night over a five-year span increased their risk for developing hypertension by 37 percent. High blood pressure can put you at risk for cardiovascular problems such as heart attack and stroke.
Adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep, but on average, most only get about six hours. Aside from high blood pressure, not getting your quota of Zs has also been associated with weight gain, an increased risk of heart disease, and a compromised immune system, which means you'll get sick more often. So for your health's sake, not just your sanity, make getting a good night's sleep a priority. How many hours do you typically sleep in a night?
High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is really common. It can be caused by stress, a diet high in saturated fat and sodium, and it can also be a result of genetics. High blood pressure comes with a risk for heart problems, so if you
suffer from hypertension, you may be wondering if it's still safe to get it on. Since sex (like all cardio activity) can get your heart pumping, the concern is that the physical exertion will put too much stress on your heart which could cause a heart attack. You'll be happy to know that according to the American Heart Association, fewer than one percent of heart attacks have occurred while getting busy in the bedroom. So for those that have their blood pressure under control, sex gets a thumbs up! Hypertension can make sex less enjoyable though, and if you're wondering how, just read more
Genetics, diet, and stress can cause high blood pressure (hypertension), but a recent study shows there's a way to lower it naturally.
Drink three cups of hibiscus tea a day. Look for this tea at your health food store, either solely hibiscus, or ones that are blended with this herb. The ability to lower blood pressure has to do with the actual plant and also the relaxing effects of sipping tea. Although your blood pressure may not decrease dramatically, even a small drop can benefit the body and lower your risk of the health problems associated with hypertension. Most people — 50 percent — are unaware that they even have high blood pressure, so if you haven't had yours checked in a while, see a doctor, or use one of those machines at your pharmacy. If it's on the high side, while you're out, pick up some hibiscus tea.
When you go to the doctor and the nurse shakes her head at your high blood pressure (also called hypertension), you may not be able to blame it on your salt bagel cravings or your old Aunt Thelma. New research shows it could be caused by your lack of potassium. Of the over 3,000 women who were tested, the ones with high blood pressure had low levels of potassium in their urine. It turns out these women were also older, heavier, and more likely to be African-American, so those factors play a part too.
While there's an emphasis on losing weight and decreasing sodium intake to help lower blood pressure, this study also proves that there should be an increase in dietary potassium. If you suffer from hypertension, it looks like you better start eating more bananas, avocado, and sweet potatoes.
You probably don't give your blood pressure much thought, except when your doctor wraps that velcro cuff around your arm, and pumps it full of air until you feel like your bicep is about to explode. The the doc will tell you it's low, or normal, or if your blood pressure is high, they'll tell you to keep an eye on it.
Then you leave, and don't think about it until the next time you have it checked, right? I am hear to tell you that it is never to early to think about your blood pressure. High blood pressure from your young years 20s, 30s, and 40s can cause a slew of health issues such as heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure later in life. Since you're all such health-conscious folks, here are so simple things you can do to maintain a healthy blood pressure:
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly. Your shooting for the top number (Systolic) to be 120 or less, and the lower number (Diastolic) to be 80 or less. Normal blood pressure is read as 120 over 80, but as soon as those numbers start to increase, you're on your way to high blood pressure.
- Think about your diet. I'm with you when it comes to craving salty foods, but too much sodium is no good. Shoot for a total of 2,300 mg or less (that's equal to 1 teaspoon of salt). Be on the lookout for pre-packaged foods, soups, sauces, and cheese (they have obnoxiously high amounts of sodium). Instead of sprinkling mountains of salt on your food, add flavor with herbs, spices, lemon juice, garlic, or ginger instead.
Your heart wants to know what else you should do so read more