HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE & ITS EFFECTS ON THE HEART
It is important for us to manage our high blood pressure so that it doesn’t affect our hearts. The number one cause of death associated with high blood pressure is hypertensive heart disease. Your heart has to work extra hard to pump blood with every extra kg that you are overweight. This causes the heart to become thicker and stiff – making it less able for it to do its job properly which could result in heart failure. Heart failure does not mean that the heart has stopped working however – it is a serious health condition. With heart failure, the heart’s pumping power becomes weaker than normal. The pressure in the heart increases which makes it harder for your heart to deliver nutrients and oxygen to your body. The more weight you lose, the lower your blood pressure.
Heart failure symptoms include:
- More need to urinate at night
- An irregular pulse
- Swelling in the abdomen, feet and ankles
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty in sleeping flat on your bed
In order to treat heart disease, you will have to treat the high blood pressure that’s causing it by going to see a doctor. You would also need to make some lifestyle changes. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you can avoid the need for medication.
Gert Coetzee, Pharmacist and Diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About thinks that it is very important for all of us to make sure that our blood pressure is stabilised so that our hearts can function properly. Below he gives some hints & tips on how you can control your blood pressure so that you don’t become a victim of heart failure.
Eat high blood pressure fighting foods such as: A diet that is rich in vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and unsaturated fats. Eating a lot of potassium can also decrease the effects of sodium on blood pressure. You can eat salmon, spinach, broccoli and pomegranate seeds for some potassium. Stick to your healthy eating plan when you dine out and read food labels when you do grocery shopping, insuring that you don’t eat foods that are high in carbs and saturated fat.
Be Physically Active: Thirty minutes of exercise – broken into six sessions of five minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. You need to make sure that you’re consistent because your blood pressure can rise again if you stop being physically active. The exercises you can do include: swimming, walking, jogging, strength training as well as cycling. Any movement is better than none.
Quit Smoking: Quitting smoking can help bring your blood pressure back to normal. Smoking raises your blood pressure and heart rate which can set you up for a heart attack or a stroke.
Reduce your sodium intake: Eating less sodium can help prevent the rise in blood pressure that occurs with heart failure, stroke, kidney disease and stomach cancer. Eating too much salt causes the body to hold water that washes away the salt from your body. The added water puts stress on your blood vessels as well as your heart.
Limit your alcohol intake: Drinking a lot of alcohol can raise your blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, drink alcohol in moderation or avoid it completely.