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What Does High Blood Pressure Feel Like?

What Does High Blood Pressure Feel Like?

It is possible to have high blood pressure for months or even years and remain unaware that you are suffering from this chronic condition.

There are two types of high blood pressure. The first is primary hypertension (also known as “essential hypertension”) whereby a person has high blood pressure that worsens over time with no apparent underlying cause. This is usually attributable to genetic factors.

The second type, secondary hypertension, occurs as a result of another disease or condition. It may be due to kidney disease, diabetes and autoimmune conditions such as lupus.

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Why it’s important to measure your blood pressure regularly

If you have high blood pressure you should take steps to improve your health. High blood pressure puts you at risk for a range of illnesses and conditions such as stroke and heart disease. It may also point to an underlying health problem that requires urgent treatment.

It is, therefore, important to monitor your blood pressure. Take it every month using a home monitoring device and be sure to attend regular check-ups as directed by your physician.

What does your reading mean?

Look at the table below to interpret your blood pressure reading.

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    What to do if you have high blood pressure

    If you have a high reading, it is important that you make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. If the top number is 180 or higher or the bottom number is 110 or above, you must call an ambulance because such high readings indicate a medical emergency known as hypertensive crisis.

    Aside from high blood pressure readings, symptoms include nosebleeds, a bad headache, and dizzy spells. As a hypertensive crisis is rare, you should always take a second reading before calling for help. If you are sure that your reading is dangerously high, seek help without delay. Hypertensive crisis can result in damage to the lungs, swelling in the brain, and seizures.

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    How to control your blood pressure

    If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend one or more forms of treatment. Potential interventions include medication, weight loss and dietary changes.

    • The Dash Diet

    One of the best ways to prevent and manage high blood pressure is to eat a healthier diet. The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is often recommended to patients with high blood pressure. It entails reducing levels of cholesterol and sodium.

    There is a strong emphasis on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grain foods. Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids is also recommended as part of a DASH diet as it is believed to have a protective effect on the cardiovascular and circulatory systems. Those following this diet are also advised to avoid red meat, excess alcohol and coconut oil.

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    • Exercise regularly

    It is also important to exercise regularly. Cardiovascular workouts three times a week between 30 and 60 minutes per session will improve your overall health and help lower your blood pressure. Exercise is also a good way of relieving stress, which may be another factor contributing to high blood pressure.

    • Medications

    If lifestyle modifications do not work, there are several different types of medications that a doctor may prescribe to lower high blood pressure.

    Diuretics, also referred to as “water pills,” are used to remove excess levels of sodium. Beta-blockers may be recommended as a means of slowing the rate blood passes through the veins. Alpha blockers may be employed to help blood flow more freely by preventing the usual mechanism by which the nerves in the body constricts the blood vessels.

    These medications, together with lifestyle adjustments, can help the majority of patients get their blood pressure under control. So if you suspect you have high blood pressure, make an appointment to see your physician today.

    Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

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    Jay Hill

    Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on September 10, 2019

    7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

    7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

    Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

    Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

    This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

    One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

    Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

    Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

    1. Gratitude

    Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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    The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

    Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

    So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

    Gratitude-Quotes

      2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

      This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

      For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

      What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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      Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

      3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

      This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

      Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

      An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

      Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

      write down goals

        4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

        According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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        There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

        5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

        Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

        Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

        6. Rise Earlier

        The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

        For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

        So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

        Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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        7. Listen to Uplifting Music

        Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

        Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

        It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

        Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

        More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

        Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
        [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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