Is High Blood Pressure Dangerous to My Heart?

High blood pressure is incredibly common among Americans, affecting more than 103 million. It doesn’t discriminate either—nearly half of all Americans age 20 and older develop elevated blood pressure.

But while the condition is common, it isn’t always very well understood. That’s why our team at AFC Urgent Care Northern Liberties wants to take a few minutes to talk through the basics.

What Is Blood Pressure?

First, let’s define what blood pressure is. Blood pressure is the literal pressure with which your blood hits your artery walls as it makes its way through the body. Normally, this happens seamlessly.

But when your blood pressure is elevated—a condition also called hypertension—your blood is hitting those walls quite forcefully. Over time, that can damage the arteries, making it more difficult for oxygenated blood to flow to and from the heart.

High Blood Pressure Risk Factors

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not being physically active
  • Eating a poor diet
  • Not eating enough potassium or eating too much sodium
  • Smoking
  • Having a family history of high blood pressure
  • Not properly managing stress

How Can I Get My Blood Pressure to a Normal Level?

Take a look at the risk factors we’ve identified above. Do any of them describe your habits or health? That’s where you should begin.

While you can’t control your family medical history, you have control over every other risk factor. Mitigate your risk factors by practicing healthy lifestyle habits, including exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and finding healthy ways to manage stress.

Foods That Can Lower Blood Pressure

  • Leafy greens
  • Berries
  • Oats
  • Skim milk or yogurt
  • Bananas
  • Fatty fish

Feeling under the weather? Schedule an AFC TeleCare appointment with AFC Urgent Care Northern Liberties to get the care you need from the safety and comfort of home.

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