Blood Pressure Info and Facts

A Better Understanding of Blood Pressure Issues Can Improve Your Overall Health

High blood pressure (also referred to as HBP, or hypertension) happens when your blood pressure, the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high. A number of factors can influence whether or not an individual has high blood pressure, and as many as 27% of Alabamians report that they have high blood pressure (according to a 2009 study by the Alabama Department of Public Health). Of course, monitoring and medication can help alleviate issues associated with HBP. Blood pressure is not only a key indicator of the heart’s health, but it also has a deep impact on the body’s overall health.

Here are some key facts to help you better understand what constitutes healthy blood pressure and how you can maintain it:

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is pressure that your blood puts on the walls of veins and arteries. Like any anatomical function, this creates the potential for failure or anomaly. Low blood pressure can occur when readings are lower than 90/60 mm Hg, while high blood pressure occurs when readings are higher than 140/90 mm Hg.

What affects blood pressure?

There are a wide variety of components that influence and impact blood pressure. Many of these factors are outside of one’s control. For example:

  • Age: Elderly individuals may experience higher blood pressure as it can increase with age naturally.
  • Genetics: Family history and race can both impact blood pressure as well, as different families and ethnicities have higher blood pressures than others.
  • Gender: Women are often prone to unique blood pressure problems, specifically when on birth control or when pregnant.

While there are numerous factors like age, race, and gender that can impact one’s blood pressure, there are also some aspects that can be controlled with nutrition and healthy habits. Ways you may be able to positively influence your blood pressure include:

  • Keep salt intake in check. High sodium intake greatly increases blood pressure, so reducing sodium consumption can maintain decent blood pressure. Pay close attention to how much salt you’re adding to your meals and be aware of the nutritional labels on pre-packaged and canned foods (both of which can be notorious culprits for high amounts of sodium!).
  • Hydration is key to keeping a proper blood volume. Dehydration leads to a decrease in the volume of blood in the body, which brings down blood pressure. If blood pressure is too low, the result is the inability for blood to carry oxygen to organs. The entire body works better when you’re properly hydrated, so be sure to keep your water bottle handy!
  • - Exercise reduces stiffness in blood vessels, which can ultimately lead to a decrease in blood pressure. Regular exercise like walking, aerobics, swimming, and even fun, heartpumping hobbies like pickleball can act as an easy way to control blood pressure and stay in shape too!

What happens when you have high blood pressure?

High blood pressure affects around one in three adults in the United States, so it’s important to know what this condition really means for your overall health.

  • High blood pressure damages blood vessels by lowering their elasticity. This makes them weaker and more prone to damage in the future.
  • Damaged blood vessels are at higher risk of blockage, which can lead to both heart attack and stroke.
  • The heavy workload and stress from high blood pressure can lead to heart enlargement and, ultimately, heart failure.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about blood pressure. At Fairhope Pharmacy, we believe knowledge is power, and we’re here to help you better understand blood pressure information. Here are a few things to note that may help you take better control of your health:

Myth: People can know or tell if they have high blood pressure just by how they feel.

Fact: High blood pressure typically doesn’t have clear symptoms you can feel. Those affected by it often feel normal or even fine until they suffer from one of its many health complications. That’s why it is important to get your blood pressure checked fairly often, especially if you have a family history of blood pressure issues. At Fairhope Pharmacy, we’re proud to offer a state-of the-art machine for checking your blood pressure called a LifeClinic Health Station. Located in our pharmacy area, this unique device allows you to check your blood pressure in moments and offers some useful, important information about those readings. And since you’ll already be in the pharmacy area when you do your blood pressure test, you can talk to your pharmacist about the numbers you see and receive some direction as to what you should do next. In addition to our in-store blood pressure cuff device, we also offer a number of blood pressure monitoring devices for purchase so you can keep up with your blood pressure stats at home or on the go.

Myth: Only elderly people are affected with high blood pressure.

Fact: While age certainly does affect blood pressure, this does not prevent younger people from being at risk of high blood pressure. Genetics and poor nutrition may also impact the body’s blood pressure, so it’s important to keep up with your blood pressure stats at any age!

Considering how important healthy blood pressure is, our Fairhope Pharmacy team is happy to help you with any questions you have about the blood pressure numbers you see on the LifeClinic Health Station and any additional you have related to your blood pressure. With a wide variety of healthy supplements and vitamins as well as a friendly, knowledgeable staff, Fairhope Pharmacy seeks to be your one-stop shop for all things wellness. Download our FREE mobile app today by clicking here to receive access your prescription refills 24/7, save on medications, and view your account information even when you’re on the go.