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We have known for a long time that high blood pressure is a silent killer, often with no symptoms. New treatment guidelines were announced at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology on November 13, 2017.
The new guidelines may impact up to 50% of our adult population and are based upon extensive research by a panel of scientific health experts. But there is still much work to be done within the medical field to effectively roll out and apply these recommendations in the clinical setting. Proactively treating patients sooner will help reduce the risk of poor outcomes and complications associated with untreated hypertension.
If you do not have a primary care physician, the physicians at Lakes Urgent Care can help with your initial assessment and direct your follow up care with a high-quality primary care provider.
Children, teenagers and young adults should get their blood pressure checked at least once every 5 years. Given the new guidelines, I recommend that this same group get their blood pressure checked at least once annually. As you age, your blood pressure is likely to increase and should be checked more often. If you have any type of underlying chronic illness, more frequent blood pressure checks are mandatory. Your blood pressure fluctuates during the day, so when you start tracking your blood pressure, you should check it at different times of the day, about 5-6 times. If you have already been diagnosed with hypertension and are taking high blood pressure medication, your blood pressure measurements should coincide with your doses. The best time to check it is before you take your medication. Your primary care physician should provide you with education and recommendations for a routine to check your own blood pressure and track those results in a blood pressure diary.
If you smoke, quit. Add some form of regular exercise. Reduce your intake of sodium, alcohol, caffeine, added sugars and refined carbohydrates. Lose some weight. By reducing your body mass index (BMI) by just 5%, you could significantly lower your blood pressure.
Add calcium, magnesium and potassium rich foods, soy, dark chocolate or cocoa and fresh berries to your diet. Many nutritionists recommend whey protein, Co-Q-10, fish oil, Hibiscus, Berberine and aged garlic extract for their beneficial effect on blood-pressure reduction.
Add any type of stress reduction activities in addition to meditation. There is a well-known connection between daily stress associated with work, family or financial difficulties and its negative impact on our blood pressure. Developing effective stress management reduction skills will have a very powerful beneficial impact on your general wellness and mental fitness. Finally, sleep apnea (excessive snoring) has been directly linked to high blood pressure, and other chronic illnesses. Lakes Urgent Care can help you set up a sleep study if you are unable to do so through your primary care physician.
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