How to Control High Blood Pressure that Can Lead to Incontinence

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May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month, as recognized by the National Institutes of Health. Physician assistant Dianna Malkowski of The CareGiver Partnership explains the relationship between high blood pressure and incontinence, and offers tips for preventing and controlling hypertension.

Dianna Malkowski, Physician Assistant & Nutritionist

Two important elements to controlling and lowering high blood pressure are taking prescribed medications as directed by your doctor and adopting a healthier lifestyle.

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month, and 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.

“High blood pressure can also affect the bladder. Medications can affect the bladder muscles and cause urinary retention and overflow incontinence,” says Dianna Malkowski, physician assistant, nutritionist and professional adviser for The CareGiver Partnership, a national retailer of home healthcare products. “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 individuals with normal levels can follow to prevent high blood pressure.”

  •     Maintaining 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.
  •     Being 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.
  •     Following a healthy eating plan. Ask a registered dietitian 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.
  •     Keeping alcohol consumption low. According to National Institutes of Health guidelines, men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women no more than one drink daily.
  •     Quitting smoking. Smoking can thicken the blood, leading to increased plaque buildup in arteries and damage to blood vessels leading to the brain.
  •     Regular blood pressure checks. Blood pressure can be checked at home with monitors and cuffs designed for personal use.
  •     Nondrug therapy options. For people whose blood pressure is not high enough to require medication, there are nondrug options like RESPeRATE, which has been clinically proven to help reduce hypertension through guided breathing exercises.

Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisers for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike. Ask Dianna a question.

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Tom Wilson