Keep an eye on your heart. More specifically: watch your blood pressure. Scientists are currently uncovering interesting trends in the relationship between circulatory strength and potentially lethal events. Their major finding: that variation in pressure–sudden spikes, erratic readings, etc–is perhaps a bigger warning sign than consistently high readings for heart attacks and strokes. Inconsistent pressure, it seems, signals serious issues.
Blood Pressure Basics
Your blood pressure is a measure of one your body’s most basic vital functions: 5 liters of thick, red blood oozing through your vessels, distributing energy and oxygen to each of the body’s moving parts. If the heart is working too hard to pump your blood, you’ve got a problem. Circulation is a complex process; too much force can lead to heart attack or stroke, too little to nausea, depression, and depression.
Blood Pressure Variation
Recent research has demonstrated that inconsistent blood pressure can strongly indicate and predict serious conditions like heart attack and stroke. While many people look for a high or low trend in their blood pressure and think of that as the big warning sign to watch, it seems as if high variability of readings, or “episodic hypertension,” may be an even stronger sign of bad things to come.
In a paper published this July, scientists studied date of more than 25,000 patients to observe correlations between variable blood pressure and serious results such as heart attack and stroke. The results were clear: patients whose blood pressure readings had high variability were much more likely to have heart attacks and strokes. 25,000 is a very large sample size; this is a significant finding. While researchers stress that this is correlation, not necessarily causation, you and your doctor have some talking to do if you are someone whose with erratic readings.
Home care tips
If you have hypertension or at risk for hypertension, what can you do? For starters, you could monitor your blood pressure at home. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends daily checks for at-risk patients. Make sure you check at a regular time, and keep to that regular time to ensure accuracy. Follow proper procedure. Record your readings accurately, and report any unusual readings to your doctor.
Monitoring your blood pressure at home will give your medical team good data to work from, and will help you feel in control of your situation. Keeping an eye on your condition will also remind you daily of your medical needs, which will help keep you focused on the path to good heart health.
Tips for maintaining healthy blood pressure
If you do develop high blood pressure, there are several no-nonsense tips to keep your condition in check:
- Eating healthy can help normalize blood pressure, reduce your weight, and keep your stress level down.
- Quitting smoking will help you maintain healthy arteries.
- Relaxing is too often overlooked as a remedy. High stress is not good you. Find a hobby that helps you wind down, and spend some time each day doing it.
- Following your doctor’s orders can help you live longer, be happier, and get you the care you need.