Lifestyle changes can help lower the risk of developing hypertension. For many people with mild high blood pressure, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol and salt, and stopping smoking can decrease blood pressure levels to normal and may be the only "treatment" required. Risks associated with sex (gender), race, and increasing age, however, do not disappear with lifestyle changes and, in many cases, a treatment plan that includes medications is necessary to control high blood pressure.
Though the above guidelines are important, they are not the only hypertension guidelines and currently there is no consensus on them. In 2014, experts appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) proposed a different set of guidelines and blood pressure goals and some physician groups continue to endorse these recommendations. The table below summarizes the new goals or target blood pressure readings for specific populations:
“It may sound odd,” says Jo-Ann Heslin, RD, the author of Diabetes Counter, “but sitting or sedentary activities such as watching TV, using the computer, sitting at work or sitting while commuting have been identified as risks for metabolic syndrome even when you incorporate modest amounts of regular activity into your day.” A study published in June 2015 in Diabetologia connected sitting time with a positive risk for diabetes, reporting that for every hour of daily TV viewing, a person’s risk for diabetes increased by 3.4 percent.
Because both yeast and bacteria multiply more quickly when blood sugar levels are elevated, women with diabetes are overall at a higher risk of feminine health issues, such as bacterial infections, yeast infections, and vaginal thrush, especially when blood sugar isn't well controlled. And a lack of awareness about having prediabetes or diabetes can make managing blood sugar impossible.
The content of this website is intended for informational purposes only. The information presented represents the opinion of Sarah Wilson and guest editors. It does not replace professional medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat. Before starting any new dietary, exercise or other lifestyle regimen it is advisable to consult your primary medical provider.
High blood pressure is a common and dangerous condition. Having high blood pressure means the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be. But you can take steps to control your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. About 1 of 3 U.S. adults—or about 75 million people—have high blood pressure.1 Only about half (54%) of these people have their high blood pressure under control.1 Many youth are also being diagnosed with high blood pressure.2 This common condition increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death for Americans.3 Get more quick facts about high blood pressure, or learn more about high blood pressure in the United States.
Many expert groups recommend a slightly higher target of 150/90 mmHg for those over somewhere between 60 and 80 years of age. The JNC-8 and American College of Physicians recommend the target of 150/90 mmHg for those over 60 years of age, but some experts within these groups disagree with this recommendation. Some expert groups have also recommended slightly lower targets in those with diabetes or chronic kidney disease with protein loss in the urine, but others recommend the same target as for the general population. The issue of what is the best target and whether targets should differ for high risk individuals is unresolved, although some experts propose more intensive blood pressure lowering than advocated in some guidelines.
Kids who have a family history of heart disease or diabetes are at greater risk for metabolic syndrome. But, as with many things in life, the lifestyle habits a child adopts can push things in one direction or another. So kids who are active, fit, and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables may drastically decrease their chances of developing metabolic syndrome — even if a close relative already has it.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic risk factors that come together in a single individual. These metabolic factors include insulin resistance, hypertension (high blood pressure), cholesterol abnormalities, and an increased risk for blood clotting. Affected individuals are most often overweight or obese. An association between certain metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease has been known since the 1940s.