Educating a Patient About High Blood Pressure – Overview
High blood pressure, often known as hypertension, is a serious health condition that can lead to a variety of other health concerns if left untreated or uncontrolled.
Some people believe it is a slow killer, but it does not have to be.
High blood pressure is a disease that is preventable and controllable.
It is critical to educate patients on the skills they will need to recognize high blood pressure red flags and self-manage the diseases before their symptoms worsen or become life-threatening.
So, what exactly is high blood pressure, and how can you educate patients about it?
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is a force that propels blood through arteries while the heart pumps, giving oxygen and nutrients to organs and tissues throughout the body.
Maintaining an appropriate blood pressure reading is critical for your organs to function properly and avoid impairment.
Your blood pressure can fluctuate depending on your age, health issues, and other circumstances in your life.
When your blood pressure increases or falls rapidly or remains high or low for a longer duration, it can be a symptom of poor health and serious health repercussions.
What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean, And What Are The Normal Rates?
According to data from the American Heart Association, adults should have a normal blood pressure reading of 120/80 mmHg.
A blood pressure reading consists of two figures: a top number, known as systolic blood pressure, and a bottom number, known as diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure is a measurement of the amount of pressure your blood exerts against the walls of your arteries.
On the other hand, diastolic pressure measures the pressure within the system when the heart is at rest.
Accordingly, the highest pressure experienced during a heartbeat is systolic blood pressure, and the lowest pressure seen between heartbeats is diastolic blood pressure.
The Dangers of Untreated or Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can cause the following negative and sometimes life-threatening health effects if left untreated or uncontrolled.
- High blood pressure puts pressure on your artery walls, leading to narrowing or plaque accumulation. This could lead to a stroke, heart failure, or a heart attack.
- With the heart not getting enough blood, you could experience angina or chest pains
- It can cause damage to the kidneys
- High blood pressure increases the risks of peripheral artery disease
- Other dangers include headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, and blurry vision.
How to Control and Prevent High Blood Pressure
Now comes the most important part-managing hypertension. Here is what you can do.
1. Eat the Right Diet
A high-fiber diet plan that includes vegetables, fruits, and whole grains is essential for people who suffer from high blood pressure.
Foods high in potassium, but low in fat, added sugars, and sodium, should be included in your daily diet.
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is the diet recommended for the management of the disease.
In addition to recommending that you fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, the diet emphasizes the consumption of whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean cuts of animal protein, and healthy fats.
Avoid processed or cured meats or foods, baked goods, refined carbohydrates, and poultry with skin, to name a few things to stay away from.
You should also keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum.
2. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Exercise regularly and maintain control over your weight, cholesterol levels, and other risk factors.
Collaborate with your healthcare practitioner to sustain a healthy body weight. Lose weight if you are overweight.
On most days of the week, incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise into your routine.
Walking, jogging, aerobics, swimming, and biking are all examples of activities that you can do.
Include resistance training to build your muscles in your weekly workout routine, such as weight lifting. Focus on completing 30 minutes of these exercises at least three times per week.
Maintain control over any chronic health conditions you may be suffering from, such as high cholesterol, chronic kidney disease, or diabetes.
You can manage stress by deep breathing or scheduling time for enjoyable activities.
3. Take Your Medication
Adherence to your drug regimen is another critical consideration. If lifestyle measures fail to lower your blood pressure, and blood pressure is higher than normal, your doctor may recommend medication.
Additionally, skipping doses increases your chance of complications.
4. Monitor Your Blood Pressure Regularly
Take note of your blood pressure, as instructed by your doctor. Make sure to record the results of your measurements by taking two or three readings one minute apart.
Your doctor may also want to check your blood pressure regularly. Medicaid insurance policy covers high blood pressure monitors but only in some states.
While at it, you should also educate the patient on the importance of not exercising 30 minutes before taking the measurement, not smoking, or taking decaffeinated beverages.
Detecting high blood pressure early is critical in preventing long-term damage. Because it can go undetected for long periods, some people have dubbed it the silent killer.
Providing patients with information about the dangers of failing to control their blood pressure increases their awareness of potential health problems, such as heart disease, heart failure, and stroke.