We’re picking up where we left off in Part I of this blog. In Part I, we defined normal and high blood pressure and outlined negative health effects of blood pressure on our arteries, heart, and brain.
In Part II, we finish outlining negative health implications and offer you action steps to combat high blood pressure. The good news is that you can start today, and that it's not too late to positively influence your blood pressure and overall health.
Negative Health Effects of High Blood Pressure (continued from Part I)
High blood pressure has negative health implications beyond heart disease.
Damage to your kidneys can also be the result of uncontrolled blood pressure. Because your kidneys depend on healthy blood vessels in order to filter excess fluid and waste from your blood, high blood pressure can contribute to kidney failure.
Kidney failure: Hypertension can damage the large arteries leading to your kidneys and tiny blood vessels within the kidneys. Your kidneys are then not able to effectively filter waste from your blood and dangerous levels of fluid and waste accumulate causing kidney failure.
High blood pressure can also affect your eye health. Blood vessels that supply blood to your eyes can be damaged by high blood pressure and cause optic neuropathy (nerve damage).
Optic neuropathy: blocked blood flow damages the optic nerve in your eye, which may cause bleeding and/or vision loss.
Because high blood pressure damages the lining of your blood vessels and causes arteries to harden and narrow, blood flow to sexual organs is decreased.
Men: Decreased blood flow to the penis makes it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection.
Women: Decreased blood flow to the vagina can lead to a lower sex drive, vaginal dryness, or difficulty achieving an orgasm.
Although the aforementioned list of negative health effects seems long, it is not an exhaustive list of issues caused by high blood pressure.
What You Can Do About High Blood Pressure
Now that we clearly know that high blood pressure is a serious condition to address, what can we do about it?!
We suggest that you first have a conversation with your physician to establish an appropriate course of action that may involve both medication and lifestyle changes.
If lifestyle changes are recommended, there are three behavioral categories you can start making change in right away, if you haven’t already: exercise, nutrition, and stress reduction.
The World Health Organization recommends that adults accumulate 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiorespiratory exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise (or a combination thereof) each week in order to combat chronic disease like hypertension. If you are earning about 300 MEPs per week and 1200 MEPs per month, then you are doing just that!
As your fitness improves, you can increase your MEPs goals for the week and the month to further improve your health.
We recommend you seek out the advice of a registered dietician if you are interested in specific meal plans tailored to your needs, but to get you started in exploring a “heart healthy” nutritional routine, check out the DASH Eating Plan promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
There are many ways that you can decrease stress in your life. A few evidence-based strategies are engaging in meditation and mindfulness, spending time in nature, and talking with family and friends. We recommend that you try multiple strategies for stress reduction in order to find the best method for you. If you’re looking for a meditation app, try out Headspace or Calm to get started.
Keep moving forward!
Remember to use the hashtags #effortrewarded and #myzonemoves when you post your workout pics, and don’t forget to add your workout pics with your moves in your Activity Calendar!
For more tips on how to use the Myzone® heart rate monitor and App, follow us during Fitness Fridays on Facebook Live (subscribe on Myzone’s Facebook Page) – 8 am PT, 11 am ET, and check out our Myzone® Moves Podcast on iTunes or Google Play.
We wish you many years of heart health going forward!!!