As our parents age, the significance of their health can become elusive. Caring for my mother post-stroke heightened my awareness of personal health, emphasizing the importance of preempting heart disease. The American Heart Association warns that heart disease claims the lives of countless women, with heart disease-related fatalities afflicting 1 in 3 women.
High blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension, though preventable, jeopardizes heart health. Hypertension is attributed to several factors:
- Obesity (past or present)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High salt, saturated fat, and alcohol intake
- Deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals
- Kidney disease and thyroid issues
- Familial predisposition
HBP silently impairs arteries, triggering numerous health issues. It initiates by narrowing and stiffening arteries, crucial conduits for oxygen transport. Imagine the peril if you consider arteries as the lifelines for cell oxygenation; without oxygen, cells perish.
Over time, fat accumulates within arterial walls, constricting and diminishing flexibility. Unchecked, arteries risk bursting or becoming obstructed, impeding blood flow. Unless one welcomes constant chest pain, heart failure, kidney malfunction, stroke, limb artery blockages, retinal damage, and life-threatening internal bleeding, change must occur – a change imperative for your loved ones' sake. Although altering lifestyle habits can be challenging, discussing associated risks with loved ones encourages adherence.
An urgent motive for maintaining healthy blood pressure, as HBP heightens stroke risk by damaging arteries. A compromised, rigid artery is susceptible to rupture or blockage, depriving brain vessels of blood flow. This deprivation incapacitates portions of the brain controlling various functions.
Similar to strokes, pulmonary embolism involves artery blockage, though in the lung. Clots stemming from other body parts, usually the legs, disrupt lung blood flow.
Hypertensive Heart Disease Chief among high blood pressure-related fatalities, encompassing ischemic heart disease (reduced cardiac blood supply), heart failure (weakening and eventual cessation of heart function), and left ventricle hypertrophy (excessive thickening of heart muscle due to overexertion).
Actions for Your Loved Ones
Dietary Adjustments for Blood Pressure Management
By revising diets, you and your loved ones can evade hypertension-linked risks, such as stroke, embolism, and heart disease. Reducing sodium, trans fats, and saturated fats is crucial. Embrace vegetarian or vegan options a few days weekly, incorporating nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables for heart-healthy fats, proteins, and nutrients.
Exercise for Blood Pressure Control
Exercise not only alleviates stress but also strengthens the heart, naturally reducing blood pressure. Aim for around 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily, split if necessary. Stair climbing, walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling enhance heart strength and efficiency.
Immediate cessation is vital if smoking is a habit, as it's a common cause of cardiovascular fatalities, avoidable with resolve.
Mindful Medication Management
In cases demanding stroke or embolism prevention, blood thinners might be prescribed. Pradaxa, for example, is a blood thinner that has caused huge lawsuits due to many deaths by internal bleeding.
Upon high blood pressure diagnosis, guide your loved ones toward life-altering changes, enhancing their health and future quality of life. Prioritize wellness, as the stakes are too high to ignore.
Contributor: Madeline Ferdinand, representing DrugNews.net, blends ageless wisdom with youthful vigor. When not writing, she enjoys exotic teas and pottery sessions with her granddaughter.