Usually long before you ever notice symptoms, high blood pressure is working against you and damaging your heart.
If you leave your high blood pressure unchecked, it could even lead to a disability, poor overall health or worse. Uncontrolled blood pressure can damage your arteries, brain, kidneys, eyes, sexual health, sleep patterns and of course your heart.
However, with treatment and lifestyle changes, you can improve and control your high blood pressure and heart health.
When it comes to your heart, high blood pressure can lead to the following problems:
Coronary Artery Disease – Coronary artery occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart can’t deliver adequate amounts of blood because the arteries are narrowed. Most people begin to notice chest pain, have a heart attack or notice an irregular heart beat.
Enlarged Left Heart – Having high blood pressure means your heart has to work harder to supply blood to the rest of the body. As the hard works harder, the left ventricle thickens or stiffens and reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. An enlarged heart increases your risk of having a heart attack, suffering from heart failure or having a sudden cardiac death.
Heart Failure – As high blood pressure goes untreated, the additional strain on your heart can weaken the heart. Eventually, your heart wears out and it leads to heart failure.
Managing Your High Blood Pressure and Heart Health
What can you do to ensure your blood pressure isn’t ruining your heart? There are a number of ways you can prevent and overcome high blood pressure.
Get Your blood Pressure Checked – If you’re not aware of your blood pressure, it’s important to have it checked. Without a blood pressure check, you’re in the dark as to whether or not your blood pressure is too high and causing problems for your heart.
Examine Your Diet – Take an honest look at the food you’re consuming. If your diet is high in sodium, cholesterol, sugar and/or fat, you’re not doing your blood pressure or heart any favors. Look to see where you can reduce sodium and increase potassium to improve your diet while including a variety of healthy grains and eating fruits and vegetables as a staple.
Increase Your Activity Level – If your health permits, look at increasing the amount of exercise you’re completing each week. The American Heart Association recommends individuals with high blood pressure get 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise three to four times a week.
Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol – Cigarette smoking will raise your blood pressure and increase your risk for heart disease. If you smoke, look at how you can quit. Drinking too much alcohol can also raise your blood pressure. Experts recommend men drink no more than two drinks a day and women stick to just one.
Lose Weight – If you’re exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, it will be much easier to lose weight. It’s important because being obese increases your risk for high blood pressure. Just losing 5 to 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure.