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Do This Now If High Blood Pressure Runs In Your Family

Do This Now If High Blood Pressure Runs In Your Family

When you’re at risk for a preventable condition without symptoms, being proactive about your health is critical for your long-term well-being. 

Often referred to as the “silent killer,” hypertension (high blood pressure) doesn’t cause symptoms, and many people don’t realize they have it. If you know you have family members with hypertension, you should talk to your physician today about what you can do to avoid developing it. 

Board-certified family providers Clifton Etienne, MD, Michael Cavanagh, MD, and Flora Brewington, MD, encourage you to engage in preventive behaviors today to avoid high blood pressure tomorrow. 

If high blood pressure runs in your family, a quick visit to Westmed Family Healthcare in Westminster, Colorado, can equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to manage your blood pressure at any age. This article provides a quick overview of what you can do to keep your cardiovascular health in check. 

Understanding hypertension

Having high blood pressure means your blood puts too much force on the walls of your blood vessels. 

Over time, hypertension wears down your entire cardiovascular system and can cause many health complications as it damages your organs. Your heart must work harder to pump blood through your veins, leaving you at greater risk of heart complications like heart attack and heart failure. 

Other possible complications of hypertension include:

These and other complications are daunting, but we have good news — hypertension is often preventable. Despite risk factors outside of your control, healthy behaviors can lower your risk. 

Easy changes you can make today

Your family history isn’t the only risk factor for high blood pressure, but it’s a significant one. Anyone can and should be mindful of their blood pressure and the behaviors that elevate it, but if hypertension runs in your family, making healthy changes as early as possible is important for your health and well-being. 

Here are a few of our top recommendations for lowering your hypertension risk:

Ease up on the alcohol

Regular drinking increases your risk for high blood pressure, especially if you’re over 35. If you enjoy a drink from time to time, the American Heart Association recommends limiting your consumption to one drink per day if you’re a woman or two drinks if you’re a man. 

Get moving

Exercise is critical for keeping your cardiovascular system healthy. Inactivity can lead to a higher heart rate, which places more stress on your heart. Additionally, lack of exercise can lead to obesity, which is also a major risk factor for high blood pressure. Exercise has countless health benefits, and hypertension prevention is one of them. 

Stop smoking

When you smoke, your blood pressure spikes. But the risk doesn’t stop there. Over time, consistent nicotine use raises your blood pressure and heart rate while hardening the walls of your arteries. It also makes your blood more likely to clot. The same is true for secondhand smoke exposure. 

Whether or not you have family members with hypertension, smoking cessation should be a top priority. 

Lower your salt intake

A delectable salty snack can be irresistible at times, but you should enjoy these delicacies in moderation and avoid topping your meals with extra table salt. When you eat a lot of salt, it causes your body to retain fluid, which increases your blood volume and blood pressure. 

To manage your hypertension risk, try to keep your daily sodium consumption under two thousand milligrams. 

Discover healthy stress outlets

Stress is an unavoidable part of life and can be a major motivator. However, too much stress can lead to physical harm, including high blood pressure. Stress itself can elevate your blood pressure or drive you to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking or smoking. 

To manage your stress in a healthy way, consider beneficial strategies like:

Exchanging unhealthy coping mechanisms for mindful, healthy options can significantly lower your risk for high blood pressure if the condition runs in your family. 

Our team can help you prevent hypertension if it runs in your family or treat it if you already have it. Call Westmed Family Healthcare today to book an appointment or schedule one online anytime.

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