A healthy diet and routine exercise are key to a healthy lifestyle and success. In this blog post, we dive into the topics of:
- Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- Blood Glucose & Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
At least one out of three Americans suffers from high blood pressure. Often referred to as the “silent killer,” many people have high blood pressure and don’t even realize it.
Left untreated or uncontrolled, high blood pressure can result in stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, sexual dysfunction, vision loss & more. This is because, over time, high blood pressure damages your blood vessels, which can lead to tears in your artery walls. This results in your circulatory system having to work harder and less efficiently, creating stress. [source]
Blood Pressure Levels
Normal Blood Pressure:
- Systolic: <120 | Diastolic: <80
At Risk Blood Pressure (“Prehypertension”):
- Systolic: 120-139 | Diastolic: 80-89
High Blood Pressure (“Hypertension”):
- Systolic: greater than or equal to 140 | Diastolic: greater than or equal to 90
- *Systolic: greater than or equal to 150 | Diastolic: greater than or equal to 90
*if you are 60 years of age or older
Diagnosing and Measuring Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer or blood pressure cuff. Your blood pressure can be taken manually or electronically; the values are often similar.
Does the blood pressure cuff size mean anything?
Believe it or not, the cuff size makes a difference! The blood pressure cuff should encircle 80 percent of your arm.
Does it matter if you’re seated or standing?
Patients should sit quietly in a chair with their feet on the floor for at least five minutes with their arm supported at the level of their heart. When we take your blood pressure, two measurements are taken.
There are two main ways to treat hypertension:
- Make modifications to your lifestyle.
- Speak to your physician about medication options.
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet
Diet is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. The DASH diet encourages a high intake of fruits and vegetables, a regular intake of low-fat and non-fat dairy foods, and small servings of meat, poultry and fish. This type of dietary approach has proven effective in helping to lower blood pressure because it helps lower your cholesterol levels.
When it comes to cholesterol, not all cholesterol is created equal. Cholesterol often gets a bum rap, but it’s actually necessary for your body to function. Cholesterol is used to make hormones as well as aid in digestion, and while your liver produces enough cholesterol to handle some tasks, you can also get cholesterol from the food you eat. However, if you eat too much of the wrong foods, your cholesterol levels may become too high.
HDL vs. LDL Cholesterol
There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
HDL “Happy” cholesterol transports cholesterol to your liver where it is expelled from your body. It works to prevent buildup of cholesterol in your arteries.
LDL “Lousy” cholesterol transports cholesterol from your liver to your tissues for storage purposes, where it collects on your artery walls, damaging your arteries. If you get too much cholesterol in your arteries, it leads to a buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis), which can lead to blood clots, which can lead to stroke or heart attack.
4 Ways to lower LDL:
- Reduce Saturated Fats to <6%
- Avoid Trans Fats all together
- Increase Dietary Fiber
- Limit intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and red meats
Blood Glucose and Diabetes
Diabetes occurs when your blood sugar is abnormally elevated. Normally, when you eat, food is turned into glucose for your body to use for energy. The pancreas produces insulin to assist in transporting glucose to the cells for readily available energy. In diabetes, there is insulin resistance or inability to move glucose to the cells. This leads to elevated blood glucose (sugar) levels.
Risk Factors for Diabetes include:
- Family history
- History of gestational diabetes
- Physical inactivity
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal cholesterol
What is Pre-Diabetes?
Previously referred to as “borderline diabetes,”
At least fifty percent of people with pre-diabetes will develop diabetes within 10 years.
However, this gives YOU the opportunity to make healthier changes for a better life!
Lower your risk of diabetes by 58% by doing the following:
- Lose 7 % of your body weight.
- Participate in moderate exercise 5 days a week.
- Choose a healthy lifestyle (diet and exercise).
- Take your medications as prescribed, and let your primary care provider know if you have difficulty doing this.
- Know your numbers.
- Work with your health care team.
About Tehmina Adnan, MD
Dr. Tehmina Adnan is a primary care physician at WakeMed Physician Practices – Primary Care – North Raleigh. She is board certified in internal medicine, specializing in the comprehensive care of adults. Dr. Adnan’s clinical interests range from preventive care to complex, chronic medical illnesses including hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and asthma.