More than half of the world’s stroke deaths are caused by elevated blood pressure levels, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A consistent reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered to be high blood pressure, or hypertension.
However it is less well known that high blood pressure can also affect the bladder and incontinence .
“Medications can affect the bladder muscles and cause urinary retention and overflow (urge) incontinence ,” says Dianna Malkowski, physician assistant, “If heart disease is present, it can cause excessive urine buildup and decreased mobility that makes it difficult to reach the bathroom in time.”
“There are two important elements to controlling and lowering high blood pressure: taking prescribed medications as directed by your doctor, and adopting a healthier lifestyle,” says Malkowski.
Here are some healthy lifestyle tips that even those with normal levels can follow to prevent high blood pressure
1. Maintain a healthy weight. Those whose doctors advise them to lose weight should aim for a rate of 1/2 to 2 pounds per week. Losing 1 pound per week requires eating 3,500 fewer calories, or 500 fewer calories per day, or burning an extra 3,500 calories per week.
2. Stay physically active. Even 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity on most days of the week can help control high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Moderate-level activity includes housework, gardening, using stairs instead of an elevator, bicycling, swimming and walking.
3. Follow a healthy eating plan. Ask a registered dietician for help creating a diet plan low in sodium, saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts.
4. Keep alcohol consumption low. NHS recommendations are 3-4 units a day if you’re a man, 2-3 units a day if you’re a woman.
5. Quit smoking. Smoking can thicken the blood, leading to increased plaque buildup in arteries and damage to blood vessels leading to the brain.
6. Regularly check blood pressure. Blood pressure can be checked at home with monitors and cuffs designed for personal use.