Are you always juggling a million things to the point where you’re neglecting your own health? While you’re not alone, you must make time to take care of yourself. Here are three simple tests that are not only easy to do, but could also help save your life.
Test #1: Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as a silent killer. What’s more, 1 out or 4 Americans don’t even realize that they have hypertension because there are no visible symptoms. High blood pressure (HBP) can damage not only your heart, but also your brain, kidneys and other organs. You need to get your blood pressure tested, either at your doctor’s office, or with an at-home blood pressure monitor. Blood pressure readings are also available at most pharmacies. Check with your local pharmacist to learn how you can get your reading.
Your blood pressure consists of 2 numbers: the top or higher number is called the systolic number (pressure in vessels when your heart is beating), and the bottom or lower number is your diastolic number (pressure in your vessels when your heart is at rest). Here are the numbers you need to know:
- Optimal BP: 115/75
- Pre-hypertension: 120-140
- Hypertension (high BP): Over 140/90
Weight reduction is the most significant thing you can do to prevent high blood pressure. In addition, follow these tips:
Take Baby Aspirin: Most people think baby aspirin is only used to prevent heart attacks by thinning the blood, but it can also reduce high blood pressure by slowing production of the hormones that control HBP while you sleep. Take it at night to help lower your blood pressure when you wake up in the morning, the time when you are more likely to have elevated BP due to constricted blood vessels. If you’re over 40, or if you have risk factors for high blood pressure, take 2 baby aspirin at night.
Drink Hibiscus Tea: Drinking 3 cups of hibiscus tea has been shown to help lower blood pressure. It’s available at health food stores for about $5.