When was the last time you checked your blood pressure? Well it’s time to check again. According to the American Heart Association new blood pressure readings should be less than 120/80 whereas before the normal readings were 140/90. High blood pressure can lead to fatal conditions such as heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. It's important that we keep an open mind for our health, and learn as much as we can about ways to improve it. Tobacco use, weight gain, increased stress and poor diet are just some of the causes of high blood pressure. The article below will discuss ways to prevent all of the above. This information can not only help us gauge our health, but it can help us monitor the health of our loved ones.

What are causes and how can you prevent it?

Tobacco Use -  Since tobacco contains nicotine, it can speed up your heart rate causing high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk for the buildup of fatty substances (plaque) inside the arteries. As a result it can cause high blood pressure to accelerate.

How you can prevent it: Toss the nicotine and learn more about natural remedies that can help kick an addiction to the curb. These can include taking vitamins, ginger and drinking grape juice.

Please consult with your doctor before taking any vitamins or medications. 

Weight Gain - When your body is carrying too much weight it can make it harder for your heart and circulatory system to function properly. An article from Mayo Clinic tells us that men with a waist greater than 40 inches and women with a waist measurement greater than 35 inches are at a higher risk of getting high blood pressure.

How you can prevent it: Exercise daily, eating healthy and reducing sodium Intake. 

Increased Stress - We all experience demands at work, home or caring for a loved one. When we experience too much stress that can lead to a poor diet and could in turn have a negative effect on our health.

How you can prevent it: Give yourself enough time to finish what needs to get done, take time to relax and take a few deep breaths in between activities can help relieve stress. 

Poor Diet - Consuming high amounts of salt can reduce the ability for your kidneys to remove water. When water builds up it creates extra strain on your blood vessels.

How you can prevent it: According to the American Heart Association they recommend no more than 2,300 milligrams a day. Adults with high blood pressure are recommended not to take anymore than 1,500 milligrams. If you can do 1,000 milligrams a day that's even better!

We can see how taking small steps can result in a healthier lifestyle and in turn a healthier body. Staying active, reducing stress and having appropriate amounts of salt in our diets are just some of the ways we can improve our health. The new blood pressure guidelines can help us take better control of our health and the health of our aging relatives.