This time of year may be fun, but it can also be dangerous to your health. If you have a history of high blood pressure, you know that stress, excess food (especially salty offerings) and alcohol, can make your blood pressure spike.
Indulge in moderation. Don’t skip the parties, but be mindful of making healthy choices this holiday season. Go heavy on the vegetable trays, light on the alcohol, and protect your good night’s sleep by resisting the urge to be the last to leave.
It may feel like the most difficult time of year to maintain a regular exercise routine, but go the extra mile to fit it in. Not only does physical activity help offset the negative effects of holiday indulgences, but it can also relieve the stress that often surrounds the extra obligations and expenditures that are hallmarks of the season.
If your blood pressure is high and you experience any of the following symptoms, see a doctor right away. You could be having a hypertensive crisis that could lead to heart attack or stroke:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding in your chest, neck or ears
- Severe headache
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
Not sure if your blood pressure is high? High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because there are often no signs or symptoms. That’s why it’s critical to have it checked regularly. Normal blood pressure is 120 over 80 (or lower). Any reading in excess of 140 over 90 is considered to be hypertension.
Healthy lifestyle choices can help keep your numbers in check:
- Don’t smoke.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid prepackaged and processed foods with high sodium content.
- Exercise regularly.
- Minimize alcohol intake.
- Find ways to reduce stress.