Welcome to the new Navitent!

Hypertension 101

Start:Feb 26, 2024

Duration:20 Minutes

Goal: this Productive Trail will increase the confidence about controlling the symptoms of a your medical condition.

Description: Turn a medical diagnosis for a chronic condition into a catalyst for adding more passion to your life.


Published By:

Behavior Rx


Step 1

Your doctor told you that you have hypertension.

What does that mean exactly?

It means that your blood pressure was too high, a risk factor for much more serious conditions such as stroke, coronary artery disease, angina or myocardial infarction (major heart attack), among other things.

Here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say about it.

*Normal blood pressure.
That's a blood pressure reading of 120/80 mm Hg or less.
120 is the systolic reading or the "top" number.
80 is the diastolic reading or the "bottom" number.

High blood pressure is anything over 140/90 mm Hg.

Both numbers in a blood pressure reading are important. But after age 60, the systolic (top) reading is even more significant.

Do you take this diagnosis seriously given what you know up to this point?

Step 2

If you answered, "yes", then you're correct.

As with other chronic illnesses we've covered, hypertension is an issue to be taken very seriously.

If you answered, "no", then please stay with us and see if we can convince you that you can actually have fun while working to mitigate the effects of a serious, chronic condition.

Are you interested in proceeding?

Step 3

Go to the video icon above and watch the first video that offers an overview of high blood pressure.

Tell us what you thought of the video when you've finished watching it.

Step 4

We'll start with the causes, but then we're going to get into the things you can do NOW to lower your blood pressure AND have FUN doing it!

The Mayo Clinic has this to say:

There are two types of high blood pressure.

I. Primary (essential) hypertension

For most adults, there's no identifiable cause of high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure, called primary (essential) hypertension, tends to develop gradually over many years.

II. Secondary hypertension

Some people have high blood pressure caused by an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure, called secondary hypertension, tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than does primary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension, including:

* Obstructive sleep apnea
* Kidney problems
* Adrenal gland tumors
* Thyroid problems
* Certain defects in blood vessels you're born with (congenital)
* Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
* Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines
* Alcohol abuse or chronic alcohol use

What did your physician say about your type of hypertension? You may write your answer in the space provided.

Step 5

Do any of the following risk factors apply to you? If so, please note them in the space provided:

* Age
Men 45 and older
Women 65 and older
* Race and Residence
African Americans tend to have hypertension at higher rates than other groups. Americans from the Southeast and Hawaii also tend toward higher rates of hypertension, particularly those whose eating habits and exercise are prone to be unhealthy.
*Family history
*Being overweight or obese
*Physically inactive
*Tobacco use
*Secondhand smoke also can increase your blood pressure.
*Too much salt in your diet
*Too little potassium in your diet
*Too little vitamin D in your diet
*Certain chronic conditions
These may include kidney disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.
*Drinking too much alcohol
Having more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may affect your blood pressure.

Note: If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor. Note that 14 or more drinks a week constitutes heavy drinking, which is a contributor to hypertension as well as other serious illnesses.

** Our source for this information is the Mayo Clinic.

Step 6

The Mayo Clinic reports that uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to:

* Heart attack or stroke
*Heart failure
*Weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys which can contribute to kidney damage
*Thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes which can result in vision loss
*Metabolic syndrome
This syndrome is a cluster of disorders of your body's metabolism, including increased waist size; high triglycerides; low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol; high blood pressure; and high insulin levels, making you more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
*Trouble with memory or understanding.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure may also affect your ability to think, remember and learn, causing trouble with memory or understanding concepts.

Does this offer you enough incentive to follow your doctor's orders?

Step 7

Medicine is a vital part of your regimen.

Were you prescribed medication?

If so, what was it?

How often are you supposed to take it and at what dose?

Step 8

List any side effects you may be experiencing from taking the medication.

Step 9

Do you follow doctor's orders regarding your antihypertensive medication(s)?

If not, why not?

If the answer is no, please call the doctor's office now to ask for time to discuss your drug regimen and what is working or not working or is simply too confusing. Side effects may also be an issue. Be sure to discuss them.

If the doctor is not available in the next few days, please see your pharmacist for a free consultation.

Will you take these recommendations to see your doctor and/or pharmacist?

Step 10

Now let's talk about another part of the plan. Along with the right medication at the right dosage, diet and exercise are important components to your health.

You already knew that, huh?

Let's start with our favorite. Food. We love it. We love to eat it and we love to celebrate with it and we love to pacify our stress with it.

But some foods are just not our friends. They sabotage us, which is why we now have to take what we food choices very seriously. Ugh!

So...how to make diet changes enjoyable.

Go to the demo tab and watch the second video that offers some meal time suggestions.

Tell us what you thought of the video when you have finished.

Step 11

List the foods and beverages you love and WILL NOT give up in the space provided.

Step 12

Now list the foods and beverages that you can easily limit or give up as long as you find a replacement you genuinely enjoy.

Write "L" for limit beside those foods and beverages you will restrict to no more than 2 times per week.

Write "E" for eliminate beside those foods you will drop altogether.

Step 13

Star this step:

List your replacement foods.

They could include:
* Leafy green vegetables (broccoli, kale, spinach, etc.)
* Carrots, tomatoes, peppers and an occasional avocado
* Soy burgers
* Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.
* A handful of walnuts or almonds each day
* Lean meat like turkey or chicken
* Fish such as salmon
* Beans and other legumes
* Refrigerate sliced carrots or apples in baggies for quick snacks that reduce cravings

Keep going with this. You know which food is good for you. If not, stop right now and call your doctor and ask for a referral to a nutritionist or dietician. Return when you've finished the call.

If you decide to talk to a nutritionist or dietician, make sure you find one you really respect and get along with. This generates a "feel good" attitude that makes you want to keep going.

Step 14

Try this:

Drink two 8oz glasses of water before noon each day.

Drink a total of 64 oz of water throughout the day.

Will you commit to this?

Step 15

Portion control.

You're smart. You know what we mean.

If you can't see the bottom of your plate, you're eating way too much.

Visualize the size of your stomach. Forget that. Get an image of a normal human stomach in your mind. A normal, adult tummy is about 10 inches by 4 inches when fully stretched. Get a measuring tape.

How much food and drink are you putting into that organ each day? It holds about 1 liter. Find something in your kitchen that equals 1 liter.

How much are you willing to reduce your meal portions in order to give your blood vessels and other vital organs the break they are telling you they have to have in order to survive?

Step 16

Exercise. Seriously, you're going to have to move that heinie if you want to get more tiny.

Write two or three types of strenuous, physical activity that you would enjoy doing a total of four times a week for 30 minutes each time.

Step 17

Here's a game changer that has been shown to make a difference:

Would you commit to walking for 30 minutes a day immediately after one of your meals?

Added to that suggestion is walking more during the day to do errands, grocery shopping, parking farther away from your destination, climbing stairs, etc.

OR you could ride a bike a few times a week before breakfast, after lunch or dinner.

Would you do at least one of these activities four times a week for 30 minutes each?

Step 18

Will you add a new activity to your week in order to give yourself something to look forward to?

Ideas include:
* Hospital, hospice or long-term care visitation
* Babysitting for a single mom or dad in your neighborhood
* Mentor a youth in your area
* Take time to talk to a young person each afternoon or evening whose parents are divorced or widowed
* Hold babies in the NICU to give a nurse a break
* Organize a bridge game for widows or the elderly
* Go to the park and chat with someone who needs a friendly conversation and a warm smile
* Help out at a small business if you have the time
* Check into local nonprofits to see if they could use your expertise

Do any of these resonate? If so, list the ones you like in the space provided.

If not, think about what you could do that would genuinely excite you. You may do so in the space provided.

Step 19

Now...will you talk with your spouse or call a friend and ask them to hold you accountable for the changes in diet, exercise and activity that you decided upon?

Agree to check in with that friend each week and report honestly on your results.

Step 20

How helpful were these suggestions?

If you said fairly good or worse, please make sure you post to the publisher's journal at the bottom with your response, so changes can be made.

Let us know what is different about you that would help us make the right suggestions in the future.

Feel welcome to schedule this navitent as often as you like to make these changes a way of life. You're also welcome to join one of the Behavior Rx campfires or the nationwide campsite. Post your email in the last open space and you'll receive a link from us through navitent.com. Click and you're in.

Thanks! And all the best to you in this new adventure!

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