High blood pressure is the most prevalent underlying condition in COVID-19 deaths in Mississippians, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health. In the United States, nearly half of adults have hypertension and only about 1 in 4 adults with hypertension have their condition under control. Having hypertension puts you at higher risk for heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of deaths in the United States.
WHAT IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. A normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg. The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ with each health care professional.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HYPERTENSION
Unfortunately, high blood pressure usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it. Hence, high blood pressure is also known as “the silent killer.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT OR MANAGE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
- Get a least 150 minutes of physical activity each week ( 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week)
- Eat a plant-rich diet, limit salt and alcohol
- Obtain and maintain a healthy weight
- Manage stress
- Implement the DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension)
HEART HEALTHY BENEFITS OF POTASSIUM
The recommended potassium intake for an average adult is 4,700 milligrams per day. Foods that are rich in potassium are important in managing high blood pressure because of the effect potassium has on sodium. Potassium also helps to ease the tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps to lower blood pressure.
Foods that are rich in potassium includes:
- Black beans
- White Beans
- Dried Apricots
- Sweet Potato
- Butternut Squash
- Greens (All green leafy vegetables are high in nitrates as well which may improve the flexibility and function of your arteries)
Treatment for high blood pressure most often starts with lifestyle changes, including losing weight, if needed, stopping smoking, decreasing salt in your diet, cutting down on alcohol consumption and getting regular exercise.
Controlling your blood pressure should be a priority in your healthy living and lifestyle. Unfortunately, the damage that high blood pressure causes does not cause any symptoms until serious damage has been done. Taking control of your health is one of the most important acts of self-care that you can do. There are so many things in life that are out of your control, why not control the things that you can?