The circulatory system is the broad term for the vast series of veins, arteries, and other blood vessels that run throughout your body. Your blood travels everywhere, and blood pressure is the means it uses to move, pumping directly from your heart. As your heart beats, it pumps blood into the larger arteries to be distributed through your whole system, and maintains a specific, steady pace necessary for healthy blood pressure.
Several things can affect how blood flows through your body, and hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) is a chronic illness that if left unchecked, can lead to complications that are fatal. Fortunately, dietary changes are one of many ways to lower blood pressure, so let’s look at how it’s measured, the damage hypertension can do, and what foods can help reduce your risk.
Residents of the Sugarland, Texas area looking for ways to lower blood pressure and treat other cardiovascular issues can find help with Dr. Chinwe Okafor and her experienced medical staff at Sugarland Primary Care Physicians.
The device placed around your arm during checkups is a monitor that reads your blood pressure by its systolic and diastolic measurements. It works like this:
Systolic pressure: this is the top number in the reading, which indicates the pressure exerted against the artery walls when the heart is contracting blood into your vessels
Diastolic pressure: the lower number in the reading indicates the pressure against your arteries between heart contractions and when the heart is resting
The systolic number is more important in regards to the risk of cardiovascular disease, and the diastolic pressure is always lower than systolic pressure. 120/80 is considered normal blood pressure, and levels higher than this (elevated, hypertension stages 1 and 2, and hypertensive crisis) present different levels of concern about your cardiovascular health. Everything through stage 2 can be managed with lifestyle and dietary changes, but a hypertensive crisis requires immediate medical attention.
When the blood pressure is elevated for long periods, it damages the walls of the arteries and veins it travels through, which start as small tears where bad cholesterol collects. This leads to the narrowing of the vessels, making it harder for blood to get through and keeping it from providing the oxygen and nutrients your body needs.
Hypertension can lead to a range of problems, including chest pains, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, heart failure, pulmonary embolism, as well as damage to your nervous, skeletal, urinary, and reproductive systems.
Here are some foods you can enjoy over the summer to lower the risk of blood pressure problems:
Several fruits can help to lower blood pressure, including citrus fruits, berries, and kiwi. Several seeds and nuts are also good for this reason, such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, flaxseeds, pumpkin and chia seeds.
A variety of vegetables can help regulate blood pressure, like leafy greens (chard and spinach), legumes (beans, lentils, and peas), broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes. Many spices can also help, including cilantro, celery seed, onion powder, chili powder, lemongrass, saffron, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger.
Eggs are a great nutrient-rich way to lower blood pressure, along with lean meats like skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, beef sirloin, and pork tenderloin.
Studies show that three servings of dairy daily can lower the risk of hypertension, and yogurt is a dairy product rich in nutrients to help with the condition.
Other lifestyle changes will likely be necessary, but what you eat plays a big part in your body, including blood pressure. If you’re struggling to get hypertension under control, call the office or go online to make an appointment with Dr. Okafor and Sugarland Primary Care Physicians today to get the treatment you need.