For those that are new to the podcast, welcome, we are two ICU nurses here to educate you on topics ranging from mindfulness, wellness, and nursing. We not only talk about our careers as nurses but also our lives outside the field.
In today's episode, we will talk about the different stages of Blood Pressure control, the signs of high blood pressure, risks, and lifestyle modifications to help you keep optimal blood pressure.
Your heart beats 100,000 times a day, 35 million times a year. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than three billion times.
The ability of most cardiac muscle cells to reproduce disappears in humans and all other mammals shortly after birth. So you only have one heart, learn to take care of it properly.
Organs/body > veins > right atrium > tricuspid valve > right ventricle > pulmonary valve > lungs > left atrium >Mitral valve> left ventricle > aortic valve> arteries > heart/body/organs
Blood pressure is as it sounds, it is the pressure in which your blood pumps at to deliver blood to the rest of your body. Blood pressure is expressed as one number over the other measured in millimeters of mercury.
Ideally, you want your numbers to be less than 120/80 mm Hg. Anything above is considered hypertensive. Since November of 2017, the guidelines have changed based on the American Heart Association.
The top number is the Systolic, this shows the amount of pressure in your arteries when the heart contracts, or squeezes to push the blood.
The bottom number is Diastolic, this is the pressure when your heart is relaxed. It is not actively pushing blood out. It is the filling phase when the heart gets filled with blood.
An elevated reading may or may not be accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
The consequences of uncontrolled blood pressure in this range can be severe and include:
Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes in controlling blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight if you're overweight or obese can help reduce your blood pressure. According to Mayo Clinic, you may reduce your blood pressure by about 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg) with each kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of weight you lose.
Exercise regularly- Regular physical activity — such as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. It's important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again.
Some examples of aerobic exercise you may try to lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. You can also try high-intensity interval training or Strength training. Aim to include strength training exercises at least two days a week.
Eating a diet- that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and avoiding saturated fat can lower your blood pressure.
It isn't easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet:
Take some time to think about what stresses you out, such as work, family, finances or illness. Once you find your stressors consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.
Cut back on caffeine- The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debated. A meta-analysis on 16 studies and over 1,000 patients showed that caffeine raised blood pressure an average of 4 mm Hg in people for up to three hours after consumption. The median dose of caffeine intake was 410 mg/day, which is about 4 cups of coffee. But people who drink coffee regularly may experience little or no effect on their blood pressure. I think the risk for hypertension with caffeine is if it makes you nervous and anxious, then consider reducing caffeine or cutting it off completely.
Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health- By drinking alcohol only in moderation — generally one drink a day for women, or two a day for men — you can respectively lower your blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor. Once you go over the moderate amount you risk raising your blood pressure several points.
Cut back on sugar- There’s an established link between sugar and metabolic syndrome, which includes insulin resistance, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high triglycerides (blood fats), and excess weight, especially in the form of belly fat.
Sugar causes insulin resistance which activates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
Blood pressure is known as the silent killer. I’m sure each of you knows someone with high blood pressure or that has died due to hypertension. 1 in 3 adults in Americans has high blood pressure. High blood pressure is directly responsible for about 1000 death each day. Education and prevention is the key to your optimal health. Don’t be a statistic and go see your doctor, get your wellness check done.
Understand your lifestyle factors that affect your blood pressure and take direct action to make a change in your life.