By Tatiana Tsvetkova, M.D., F.A.C.C
What is normal blood pressure and how do we keep it under control?
Normal blood pressure is 120/80; however, if it takes medication to control it, your ‘goal blood pressure’ might be different. If blood pressure is elevated above your ‘goal blood pressure’ (as determined by your physician) on more than two occasions, it indicates hypertension. If you do not remember the last time your blood pressure was checked, you should set up an appointment today.
Stroke is the most devasting complication of hypertension, along with increased risks of heart attack, heart or kidney failure. Your doctor will help you determine your optimal blood pressure, as it dependent upon age and other medical conditions. Patients with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, previous stroke or mini stroke, heart attacks or other cardiovascular disease benefit from blood pressure lower than 140/80. Some adults older than 60 years old with no diabetes or kidney disease do well with blood pressure lower than 150/90.
If you have a genetic predisposition of high blood pressure that runs in your family, it is even more important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Stress, insomnia, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption or more than two drinks a day, high sodium intake, or lack of exercise all contribute to a propensity towards hypertension. Through awareness, however, you have greater opportunities to improve your chances for a better blood pressure control.
If indicated, there are many different opinions for medications for blood pressure control which could be taken as a single pill or in different combinations safely.
Take a moment today and ask your loved one what their blood pressure was at their last doctor’s visit. Talk to your child or grandchild about the importance of understanding blood pressure. Share with them the things that can make a positive difference:
- Good food such as fish, beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruit
- Regular exercise
- Good night sleep
- Limiting alcohol
- Limiting salt and fast food
- Maintaining normal weight
- Meditation and yoga
- One ounce of dark chocolate a day to lower blood pressure without weight gain
- Being happy and content
- Maintain a normal blood pressure to prevent stroke, heart and kidney disease
Celebrate springtime and take care of your blood pressure and your heart!