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How Do I Know If My Blood Pressure Is Too High?

What Is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is prevalent in South Africa. According to recent estimates, approximately one in every three adults in the country suffers from high blood pressure. This equates to around 15 million people living with this condition, and the numbers are expected to rise.

“Hypertension is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, which is responsible for a significant proportion of deaths in South Africa,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“The condition is often asymptomatic, and many people are unaware that they have high blood pressure, highlighting the need for regular blood pressure screening and early intervention to manage this condition effectively.”

How Do I Know If My Blood Pressure Is High?

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). It is expressed as two numbers, with the first representing the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (systolic pressure) and the second representing the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (diastolic pressure).

A regular blood pressure reading is generally considered to be around 120/80 mm Hg. However, high blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher or a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher.

It’s essential to check your blood pressure regularly by a healthcare professional, especially if you have risk factors for high blood pressure, such as a family history of hypertension, obesity, or a sedentary lifestyle.

As mentioned earlier, some people with high blood pressure may not experience any symptoms, which is why regular blood pressure checks are so necessary.

10 Ways to Bring Your Blood Pressure Down

Affinity Health highlights 10 ways you can reduce high blood pressure:

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese can contribute to high blood pressure. Losing weight can help to reduce blood pressure and improve overall health.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can help lower blood pressure by promoting healthy circulation and strengthening the heart. Aim to incorporate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise into your daily routine.

Eat A Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet low in sodium and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help reduce blood pressure. The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a well-known dietary pattern shown to lower blood pressure.

Limit Sodium Intake

High sodium intake can contribute to high blood pressure. Aim to limit your sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day or less than 1,500 mg per day if you have hypertension or are at risk for hypertension.

Reduce Alcohol Intake

Drinking alcohol can contribute to high blood pressure, especially when consumed excessively. To reduce blood pressure, it’s necessary to limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is a known risk factor for high blood pressure and other health problems. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do to promote overall health.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as practising mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga, can help to lower blood pressure.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential for overall health, and getting enough sleep can help to lower blood pressure. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night to help promote healthy blood pressure levels.

Take Blood Pressure Medication as Prescribed

If you have hypertension, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure. It’s crucial to take this medication as prescribed and attend regular follow-up appointments to control your blood pressure.

Monitor Blood Pressure at Home

In addition to routine blood pressure checks at the doctor’s office, monitoring blood pressure at home can help to identify any potential problems early on. Your healthcare provider can recommend a blood pressure monitor that you can use at home and can advise you on how often to check your blood pressure.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health insurance provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to always give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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