Hypertension & Heart Disease

headshot compressedBy Karen Whittier

February is Heart Disease/Stroke Awareness Month. High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition, if left untreated, can lead to heart disease or stroke. Blood pressure is a measurement of the force applied to artery walls. High blood pressure is insidious in that, often, you’re not aware you have the condition! Keeping track of your blood pressure through regular screenings could be the only way to let you know if you have a problem. There are some symptoms of extremely high blood pressure that require immediate medical assistance. These include:

1. Severe headache
2. Confusion or fatigue
3. Vision problems
4. Chest pains
5. Difficulty breathing
6. Irregular heartbeat
7. Blood in urine
8. Pounding in chest, neck or ears

When blood is pumped out from the heart, it begins its travels in the arteries. High blood pressure can occur when there’s a narrowing of the artery or, conversely, if a greater volume of blood is flowing through. Additionally, if the heart is beating faster or more forcefully this will place more stress on the artery wall, increasing the pressure. Some medical conditions also increase blood pressure but many times, the underlying cause of high blood pressure can’t be pinpointed.

You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by:

1. Eating a healthy and nutrient-rich diet
2. Reduce salt/sodium from your diet; especially from processed food
3. Maintaining a healthy weight; avoid yo-yo dieting—find the healthy weight for you. 4. Being physically active; get 30-60 minutes/day 5 days/week
5. Don’t smoke….preferably never, ever ever–if you do, quit yesterday
6. Limit alcohol consumption

You can be proactive in safeguarding your health by incorporating the suggestions above. YOGA can also help to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. It is an ideal supplement and complement to more typical physical activities such as running. Yoga’s attention to the mind-body connection via the breath improves respiratory function and lung capacity; active, dynamic sequencing of asanas (postures) boost circulation while static, holding of asanas build muscle tone. Stress comes at us from many fronts. Stress, at reasonable levels is useful and even healthy, but if it becomes chronic and relentless what once was healthy turns unhealthy…and can turn deadly. Yoga can be used to relax and release stress’ hold over you. Read more of how yoga is good for heart health here.

Health, Wellness & CURES!!
Karen Whittier

Information included in this article came from: WebMD and National Institute of Health 

Karen Whittier is Chief Activist for Embrace Activism the online source for yoga products with a CAUSE. She also is a registered yoga teacher sharing the health and wellness benefits of yoga with students from preschool age to senior citizen.


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