Blood pressure, or arterial tension, is the force that blood exerts on the artery wall. This can be characterized by two values:
- Maximum or systolic blood pressure corresponds to the value during heart contraction (systole), when blood is expelled by the left ventricle and travels through the arteries. Normal values in a healthy adult should be less than 120 mmHg (millimeters of mercury).
- Minimum or diastolic blood pressure refers to the value during the heart's relaxation (diastole). This should ideally be less than 80 mmHg.
When blood pressure is high, called hypertension or high blood pressure , it can be harmful, as it will prematurely wear out the arteries, causing damage to the blood vessels and cardiovascular diseases. In most cases, there is no obvious cause for high blood pressure, but there are several factors that can contribute to its appearance, such as aging, obesity, diabetes, high salt intake, emotional stress, excessive coffee consumption and alcohol, tobacco and sedentary lifestyle.
Generally, high blood pressure does not show symptoms immediately, but we advise you to be aware of some signs such as: dizziness, blurred or unfocused vision, chest pain, shortness of breath, constant headaches, nosebleeds and extreme tiredness. In some cases, over time, complications and associated symptoms may arise, which is why it is essential to carry out early analysis and diagnosis.
The main diseases associated with high blood pressure are the following:
- Cerebrovascular accident (CVA);
- Angina pectoris;
- Acute myocardial infarction, when the obstruction of one or more coronary arteries is greater than 90%;
- Cardiac insufficiency;
- Chronic renal failure;
- Retinal injury;
- Sexual impotence.
The first step to controlling high blood pressure is identifying which behaviors you can change or adjust in your life. In addition to your doctor's advice, who will indicate the best solutions suited to your case, adopting healthy lifestyle habits is crucial to preventing an increase in blood pressure. So, some measures you can take:
- Reduce the amount of salt and fat in your diet, and include more fruit, vegetables, nuts, etc.;
- Control your weight;
- Do not smoke and avoid excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages;
- Practice physical exercise regularly and stay active (at least 3 times a week).
In a diet to reduce high blood pressure, it is important to prioritize the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, oilseeds and legumes, as they are foods rich in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants, which improve blood circulation. You should also reduce your intake of processed foods and foods rich in saturated fats such as red meat, as they facilitate the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries. Foods such as olive oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseed contain a high content of healthy fats with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that improve blood circulation. Some teas with diuretic properties are also recommended, such as ginger tea, green tea and hibiscus tea.
Do you want to help control your blood pressure levels?