Your heart beats for you. This hard-working muscle at the centre of your circulation system, pumps blood around your body, distributing essential oxygen and nutrients, and disposes of unwanted carbon dioxide and waste products; all to keep you alive.
High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension), often caused by poor lifestyle choices or a genetic predisposition (e.g. if a family member has high blood pressure) can threaten your health and quality of life. In many cases, the damage done from high blood pressure occurs quietly over time. However, if left undetected or untreated, high blood pressure could or can:
- damage arteries that can become blocked and prevent blood flow to the heart muscle causing a heart attack
- cause blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to become blocked or burst causing a stroke
- cause the heart to enlarge and struggle to supply blood to the body resulting in heart failure
- damage the arteries around the kidneys and interferes with their ability to filter blood effectively causing kidney failure
- strain or damages blood vessels in the eyes causing vision problems.
- lead to sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction in men and lower libido in women
- cause heart disease, angina, or chest pain.
- narrow arteries in the legs, arms, stomach, and head, causing pain or fatigue.
Win your heart back!
The good news is that with the right knowledge and behavioural changes, you can win your heart back and continue living a happy and healthy life.
- Know your numbers. It is best not to self-diagnose. Find out if you have high blood pressure by having your blood pressure checked by a medical professional. If you have a history of HBP, monitor it regularly.
- Work in partnership with your health professional/s and follow their advice and your medication if prescribed.
- Make heart-healthy lifestyle choices to keep your heart pumping happily. This includes regular exercise, stopping destructive habits such as smoking or excessive drinking, getting enough sleep, cutting back on salt, refined carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods, reducing your stress levels, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Contact Afrocentric for professional health advice and counselling to help you to deal with all matters of the heart.
Written by LifeAssist