High blood pressure & hypertension

High blood pressure (or hypertension) is the most common of all the conditions of the circulatory system. Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of blood vessels, and the magnitude of this force depends on the cardiac output and the resistance of the blood vessels. High blood pressure (or hypertension) is defined as blood pressure higher than 140 over 90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) where the first number is the systolic pressure (the pressure as the heart pumps blood around the body), and the second number is the diastolic pressure (pressure as the heart relaxes and refills with blood). Hypertension is a major problem in society today with more than two thirds of Australians having uncontrolled or unmanaged high blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood against the walls of blood vessels, and the magnitude of this force depends on the cardiac output and the resistance of the blood vessels. High blood pressure (or hypertension) is defined as blood pressure higher than 140 over 90 mmHg

7 Factors That Contribute To High Blood Pressure

  1. Physical inactivity
  2. A salt-rich diet associated with processed and fatty foods
  3. Alcohol and tobacco use.
  4. Age – everyone is at greater risk of high blood pressure as they get older.
  5. Genetics and Family history
  6. Size – being overweight or obese is a key risk factor for hypertension
  7. Sex – males and females have different risk profiles. Men are more prone to hypertension at a younger age, while women have a higher rate of hypertension at older ages

Treating high blood pressure

High blood pressure can be treated with 2 different approaches: with drugs and with changes in lifestyle. While both are effective and often prescribed together,lifestyle changes are important for both treatment and prevention and they can be as effective as a drug treatment. These lifestyle changes can also have wider benefits for heart health and overall health.

7 Changes You can Make To Manage High Blood Pressure

  • Reducing weight and maintaining it – hypertension is closely correlated with excess body weight and weight reduction is followed by a fall in blood pressure
  • Regular physical exercise – guidelines say “hypertensive patients should participate in at least 30 min of moderate-intensity dynamic aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, cycling or swimming) on 5 to 7 days a week”
  • Salt restriction – typical salt intake is between 9 and 12 g a day and modest blood pressure reductions can be achieved even in people with normal levels by lowering salt to around 5 g a day – the greatest effects are seen in people with hypertension
  • Moderation of alcohol consumption – expert guidelines say moving from moderate to excessive drinking is “associated both with raised blood pressure and with an increased risk of stroke”
  • Quit smoking – smoking has been shown to have a significant effect associated with high blood pressure.
  • High consumption of vegetables and fruits and low-fat – people with, or at risk of, high blood pressure are advised to minimize intake of saturated fat and total fat and to eat whole-grain, high-fibre foods, at least 300 g of fruit and vegetables a day, beans, pulses, and nuts, and omega-3-rich fish twice a week
  • Stress reduction – avoiding sources of stress, where possible, and developing healthy coping strategies for managing unavoidable stress can help with blood pressure control, especially as many people turn to alcohol, drugs, smoking and unhealthy foods or overeating to cope with stress.

Exercise is a very important part of controlling hypertension

As you can see, exercise is a very important part of controlling hypertension. If you or anyone you know has high blood pressure, please come and speak to one of our personal trainers or exercise physiologists to help you manage on the path to a greater quality of life.

See you in the gym,

Michael.