You Should Never Believe These Myths About High Blood Pressure

Posted by The Cheat Sheet

We all know heart disease is one of the leading killers in America, and high blood pressure can certainly contribute to your risk. But how much do you know about hypertension, really? For one, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us one out of every three adults has high blood pressure, and only half of them are managing it. This leads to about 1,000 deaths each day from health conditions that are caused by hypertension — think heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failures, and kidney disease.

Curious to see how much you know about this condition? Here are the top myths you must stop believing.

1. If it runs in your family, there’s nothing you can do about it

Doctor's Hand Checking Blood Pressure

Maybe your mother and father both have high blood pressure and you think you’re doomed to also have the condition. Well, there’s good news for you — genetics aren’t everything. The CDC says even if you haven’t won the genetic lottery, there are other things that can greatly reduce your risk of developing hypertension. This is where avoiding tobacco, eating nutrient-dense foods, and maintaining a healthy weight comes into play. It’s never too late to lower your blood pressure, either, so talk to your parents about lifestyle changes they can make as well.

2. Avoiding table salt will help reduce your blood pressure

salt cellar and spilled salt

Table salt isn’t the only source of sodium to watch for.

There’s a lot of debate on whether a low-sodium diet is beneficial for those with high blood pressure, but here’s the truth: The average American diet is loaded with salt, regardless of whether it’s giving you problems. The American Heart Association recommends most adults consume no more than 1,500 milligrams a day — that’s less than 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. You probably think you’re doing your blood pressure a favor by skipping the table salt during mealtime, but keep in mind the majority of your sodium isn’t coming from the shaker. It’s coming from processed foods.

3. You don’t have to worry about your blood pressure if you feel fine

lesbian couple laughing together
You may have some preconceived notions of what high blood pressure is supposed to feel like. Perhaps you envision someone who is always overheated, sweating, or nervous, but that’s typically not the case. In fact, NorthBay Healthcare states you likely won’t experience any symptoms if you have hypertension, but that doesn’t mean you’re not putting your heart, kidneys, and brain in grave danger. Don’t let your high blood pressure reading go to the wayside because you don’t feel ill. Seeking treatment can be life-saving.