Many in the Chronic Kidney Disease Community suffer from High Blood Pressure (a major cause of Kidney Failure). Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) is a risk factor for Cardiovascular Disease, Heart Disease, and Stroke which are leading causes of death in those with Chronic Kidney Disease, especially Dialysis patients (accounts for almost fifty percent of deaths). That is why it is no surprise that Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients are constantly looking for ways to better manage their Blood Pressure levels. The following are 8 must-know tips about Blood Pressure that just might save a patient's life.
1.) Coffee is spiking your Blood Pressure, but it may not be a bad thing: Researchers have long known that a cup of coffee makes the blood pressure jump. In an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers concluded that in some instances coffee increased systolic blood pressure (the top number referring to the amount of pressure in your arteries during contraction of your heart muscle) by an average of 8 points. The spike lasts about three hours, but there appears to be no long-term effect, suggested the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
2.) Switch to Decaf: Rob van Dam (adjunct assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard University) reported that if you’re having trouble controlling your blood pressure, switching to decaf coffee might help. Also, blueberries have been noted among fruits that are safe for most Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients which also help to reduce High Blood Pressure.
3.) There are signs for High Blood Pressure: Sometimes patients experience High Blood Pressure and show no signs. However, in other cases signs of Hypertension do appear such as: Headaches, blurry vision, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping, nausea, and dizziness. These symptoms may occur when High Blood Pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage. Thus, if you are experiencing these symptoms regularly and you think they may be life threatening, discuss the matter with your Healthcare Team or immediately check into a local Emergency Room.
4.) There are a few cheats to help quickly lower Blood Pressure: If your Blood Pressure is running high, then by simply slowing your breathing down to six breaths in thirty (30) seconds has been shown to bring systolic blood pressure down by about three (3) points — at least temporarily. Also, researchers confirmed that hand-grip exercises can reduce a patient's number by about ten percent (10%). Inexpensive hand grippers are typically available online (click here) or at local sporting good stores for only $10.00 to $15.00. "Squeeze the gripper for 2 minutes at a time, for a total of 12 to 15 minutes, three times a week," instructed AARP.
5.) When it comes to Blood Pressure, there is no such thing as one optimum number: While guidelines help to guide Nephrologists and Chronic Kidney Disease patients, every patient is different, and there is typically no "one number fits all" when it comes to managing your Blood Pressure. For patients at low Cardiovascular risk, a higher systolic target may be acceptable. The same may be true for some high-risk patients who can't tolerate aggressive therapy because of side effects. Dr. Raymond R. Townsend said, "The best advice is to ask your doctor what's right for you."
6.) The top number is the one to watch: The top number (systolic pressure) measures the force at the moment the heart beats, pumping blood throughout the body. The bottom number (diastolic pressure) measures pressure between beats when blood flows back to the heart. "The top number is the one that matters because systolic Blood Pressure is the peak force that your arteries and your vital organs experience with each heartbeat," noted Dr. Sheila Sahni (Cardiovascular Disease expert at UCLA Medical Center). "When pressure increases, it can damage your eyes, your brain, even the lining of blood vessels." The lower number, diastolic blood pressure, typically peaks at about age 55 and then gradually falls.
7.) Stay out of the "danger zone!": The "danger zone" is when a Chronic Kidney Disease or Dialysis patient's Blood Pressure is dangerously high. Unfortunately, sometimes when patients get their pressure under control, they then go back to bad habits causing their blood pressure to rise again. It is important to try and maintain your personal Healthcare regiment in order to stay out of the "danger zone."
8.) Low Blood Pressure is not the goal: A patient called KidneyBuzz.com and said, "I am constantly suffering from Low Blood Pressure. I am wiped out and tired all of the time. Sometimes I feel like I am going to faint. It is terrible." While High Blood Pressure is bad, Low Blood Pressure can be as equally complicated and dangerous. The danger is greatest when people stand up and Blood Pressure isn't strong enough to pump blood to the brain. Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients are particularly at risk of falls that may cause fractures. If you're on medication and experience dizziness, talk to your Nephrologist because a change in your prescription may help.
Print this article and share it with your loved ones so that they may learn of ways to better manage their Blood Pressure and perhaps improve their longevity. Also, print this article and post it on the bulletin board at your Dialysis Center so that your fellow patients may have prompt access to this life-enhancing information. They will be thankful to you.
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