Guest post by Dr. Karen Babos
High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer.” It affects adults. By educating yourself on the condition and making lifestyle changes, you can improve your overall health and manage high blood pressure.
For many people, high blood pressure does not show symptoms. But some may experience:
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- pounding in the chest, neck, or ears due to the condition
It is important to regularly visit your doctor, share your symptoms and monitor your blood pressure at home. A normal blood pressure is 120/80 and below. High blood pressure is when the body has a range higher than 120/80, while at rest.
Can high blood pressure affect my body?
Yes. High blood pressure that is not under control can lead to a heart attack or stroke. It can also harden arteries, decrease oxygen and reduce blood flow to the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes and may lead to memory problems or dementia.
How can you control high blood pressure?
High blood pressure can be controlled with medication and lifestyle changes. Some changes to think about starting include:
- Check your blood pressure regularly at doctor visits and at home. You may be able to get a free blood pressure monitoring device. It may depend on your medical insurance coverage. For more information, contact your health care provider.
- Quit smoking.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eat more fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. Eat less foods high in salt, saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. For salt intake, try to eat less than 2,000 mg daily.
- Drink less alcohol.
- Get regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
Dr. Karen Babos, D.O., M.B.A., is the Chief Medical Officer for Molina Healthcare of Illinois. Dr. Babos is triple-board certified in internal medicine, geriatric medicine and palliative care. Dr. Babos and her team seek to improve care for members.