Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is known as the silent killer because it often doesn’t produce signs or symptoms. Your blood pressure is a measurement of blood flowing through your arteries. When the blood encounters resistance, your blood pressure climbs higher.
Resistance is caused by fatty plaque buildup on your artery walls, narrowing the arteries. When blood passes through a narrow artery, blood pressure is higher. The fatty plaque buildup can be caused by high levels of cholesterol in your blood. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are very closely related medical conditions.
The most important way to find out if you have hypertension is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Any reading exceeding 120/80 is a higher-than-normal blood pressure. In addition to a high blood pressure reading, you may also notice these signs or symptoms, which may or may not be caused by hypertension:
- Facial flushing
- Blood spots in your eyes
Elevated cholesterol levels can be identified by laboratory testing of the cholesterol in your blood. When you have high cholesterol, you may also notice intermittent mild chest discomfort, or you may not notice any symptoms.
There are several ways you can help prevent hypertension and high cholesterol. Remember to:
- Avoid tobacco use and limit alcohol consumption
- Exercise regularly at least 30 minutes most days of the week
- Maintain a healthy weight by eating a healthy diet
- Practice stress management techniques
Diet is an important factor in both hypertension and high cholesterol. Remember to:
- Limit your salt and caffeine intake
- Eat lean meats like fish and poultry, and avoid red meat
- Eat natural foods when you can and avoid fried, greasy, or fast food
- Eat complex carbohydrates like grains and vegetables, instead of simple carbohydrates like sugars
- Eat low-fat or nonfat dairy products, instead of full-fat dairy products
Hypertension and cholesterol problems can dramatically affect your health and potentially shorten your life. Proper diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications can do a lot to keep you healthy. To find out more about the signs of hypertension and cholesterol problems and their treatments, talk with your doctor today.