Don’t worry! A glass of wine at night won’t raise your blood pressure.
One in every three U.S. adults has high blood pressure. Almost 20% of the 75 million U.S. adults with high blood pressure do not know they have it. Having high blood pressure and leaving it untreated can lead to serious health problems.
We’re busting the six top myths about blood pressure.
Myth: 140/90 is high blood pressure.
Fact: Any blood pressure consistently reading over 120/80 is considered high.
“When blood pressure is consistently over these numbers, it’s time to reach out to your physician,” says Dr. Jeffery Ziffra, DO, cardiologist, Advocate Heart Institute. “However, if your systolic blood pressure is 150 mmHg or higher consistently and at rest, I would recommend contacting your physician. If your blood pressure is this high and you are experiencing symptoms of chest pain, dizziness, numbness, or tingling in your body, we recommend seeking immediate treatment through urgent or emergency care.”
Myth: If you don’t add table salt to your meals, you are fine.
Fact: You have to worry about more than just table salt when you are working to lower your blood pressure. Dr. Ziffra recommends the DASH diet to help improve overall salt intake. There is an additive benefit, otherwise stated, the less sodium, the more benefit. The DASH diet includes foods that are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium while limiting foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.
Myth: A nightly glass of wine will increase your blood pressure.
Fact: Unless your doctor recommends completely eliminating alcohol from your diet, research indicates that only excessive alcohol use is not recommended. Studies show that high blood pressure is not associated with people who drink 2 alcoholic beverages a day or less. However, be certain to check the size and type of the beverage. Your nightly glass of wine is safe!
Myth: Young people do not have to worry about blood pressure yet.
Fact: While hypertension is more prevalent in older adults, younger adults, teens and children can also have high blood pressure. This has been occurring at younger and younger ages requiring early intervention. Lifestyle factors such as diet, aerobic activity and smoking can all affect blood pressure levels.
Myth: High blood pressure is something only men should worry about.
Fact: Women can have high blood pressure too. Women may experience high blood pressure if they are overweight, taking a birth control pill, pregnant, postmenopausal, or have a family history of high blood pressure.
Myth: Only high-intensity cardio like Crossfit will help lower your blood pressure.
Fact: Regular physical activity helps both the mind and body. Ziffra recommends engaging in regular aerobic activity for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Contrary to high-intensity fitness trends, simple aerobic activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling are more than enough to keep your heart and body healthy.
About the Author
Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.