A new study has recently revealed that the act of treating high blood pressure eats up about 10 per cent of Canada’s health-care budget. Unfortunately, these numbers are only continuing to grow!
In 2010 alone, the federal government spent $13.9 billion treating the symptoms and consequences of this condition. If nothing is done, Canadian taxpayers could pay more than $20 billion by 2020 on this disease.
Specifically, the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine has stated that nine out of 10 people will develop high blood pressure during their lives.
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And while high blood pressure can be caused by a variety of factors, one of the main roots is stress. If you have a particularly high-charged career in which you’re consistently feeling overwhelmed or strained, then you could be at risk for developing high blood pressure.
To stop the problem before it begins (or to maybe get a handle on the issue), we’ve put together a list of lifestyle changes that can help you avoid this growing disease.
As your weight increases, so can your blood pressure. Working 12+ hour days may not leave much room for exercising or eating healthy, but it’s vital to take care of yourself and to be mindful of your state of health.
Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. In fact, just losing 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure. Therefore, make time to exercise regularly and eat healthy. Avoid the convenience of fast, greasy foods.
Reduce sodium intake
One of the main components to eating healthy is to avoid or reduce your sodium intake. Even the smallest reduction of sodium in your diet can reduce your blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.
There are different ways you can accomplish this goal such as reading food labels, eating fewer processed foods and by not adding table salt to your meal.
If you happened to have a particlualry stressful day at the office, you may choose to unwind with a cocktail—watch how many you throw back.
Sure, in small amounts, alcohol can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg. However, if you drink too much, then alcohol can have the opposite effect. Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points, as well as reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
The same can also be said for caffeine—what the amount you put into your body on a daily basis.
If you’re a smoker, stop! Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish it. Quitting smoking can actually help your blood pressure return to normal, as well as potentially increase your life expectancy.
Get rid of stress
And finally, if your life is stressful, it’s imperative to rid yourself of these situations. After all, stress can lead to eating poorly, consuming more alcohol and smoking more cigarettes—all triggers of high blood pressure.
Determine what factors in your life are particularly stressful, and then find ways to eliminate stress from these areas. You may need to change your expectations, learn your stress triggers or make significant time to relax and take part in activities that you enjoy.
You only get one life and one body, so take care of yourself—no one else is going to do it for you!
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