MEDICAL MATTERS: It’s blood pressure 102
As seen in the Odessa American “Medical Matters”: http://www.oaoa.com/people/health/article_142b7e0e-eb15-11e6-8175-e70526b7ef79.html
by Dr. Fernando Boccalandro
In my first article I discussed the basics of blood pressure and the definition of normal blood pressures values according to current guidelines. In this second article I will address some practical tips and tricks, to maintain an adequate blood pressure control.
Blood pressure tends to fluctuate due to multiple factors that affect the blood pressure including stress, level of activity, salt intake, fluid intake, etc. For my patients the goal is to keep their average blood pressure within normal levels over time, rather than focus on one, or another individual blood pressure number specifically. Think about the average of the blood pressures as the number to go by.
What are my pearls of wisdom for our readers, after diagnosing and treating hundreds of patients with elevated blood pressure?
- Know your numbers:Make sure that you measure and know what your blood pressure is, at least once or twice a year if you do not have hypertension. It is useful to have an automated blood pressure machine at home, especially if you are prescribed blood pressure medications to assure is well controlled. Bring your blood pressure machine to your appointments; to make sure is well calibrated and you blood pressure measurements.
- Do your homework:Keeping a diet low in salt (less than 2 grams of sodium a day), a healthy weight, decrease levels of stress and regular moderate exercise (at least 150 minutes weekly), can contribute to lower your blood pressure and will make you feel better. Take your medications as prescribed and do not discontinue your blood pressure medications without discussing it first with your healthcare provider.
- Plan for the long term:Hypertension in the majority of patients is a chronic disease, like diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. So plan for a lifetime commitment to monitor and control your blood pressure, it is well worthwhile to prevent any adverse consequences of uncontrolled hypertension.
- Get the best team:Successful blood pressure management is teamwork. It is important to involve your family to help you succeed in this lifetime goal if you have elevated blood pressure. And it is very important to be in close contact with your health care professional, to coach and advise you regarding goals and optimization of your blood pressure levels over time.
Don’t let your guard down with high-blood pressure! And please contact your primary care doctor if you have questions or concerns about your heart health.