High blood pressure or hypertension is a very common medical condition. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. In our specialty, urology, we frequently see the results of untreated high blood pressure including kidney failure and erectile dysfunction.
TIPS TO LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
There are a number of relatively straightforward things that you can do to reduce your blood pressure including:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Regular exercise
- Avoiding added salt
- Reducing daily stress
- Moderating your alcohol intake
- Stop smoking
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is helpful to have your blood pressure measurements taken regularly in a variety of different settings. You can now, fairly inexpensively, purchase automatic blood pressure monitors at most local drug stores or pharmacies. You can then keep a record of these measurements to share with your doctor at the time of your office visit.
Blood Pressure Apps – Smart and Easy Technology
For years, I have been living with high blood pressure myself. Until recently, it was not unusual for me to find scraps of paper lying around my home or office with random blood pressure measurements on them. In an effort to be more proactive about my own health, I downloaded one the many free apps available for iPhone called BP Monitor. I now use this smart phone app to record and store my blood pressure measurements.
Using this app, allows me to easily graph and follow my own blood pressure readings over time as I try to make positive changes in my own lifestyle. Using the graph feature allows me to quickly see how my body responds to changes in medication as well.
Over time, even small improvements in your blood pressure can lead to significant reductions in your risk of developing problems related to hypertension. Therefore, it is very important that you partner with your primary care provider and develop a plan to manage your blood pressure that works best for you. This plan might include the use of blood pressure lowering medications.
Blood Pressure and Medication
If you are already taking a medication for elevated blood pressure, realize that there are medications we as urologists prescribe that have the potential to cause a significant drop in your blood pressure. Medications commonly prescribed for prostate problems and problems with sexual function in men can have this affect. It is very important that you, and all of your physicans and caregivers, are clear about the names and doses of medications you are currently taking. It is a great idea to bring a list of your current medications with you, or even the medications themselves, to each doctor’s visit.
Eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight when combined with regular blood pressure measurements, and an individualized care plan from your primary care physician, will allow you to take control of not only your blood pressure, but also your future health.