Hypertension is a medical condition where the blood pressure in the arteries is abnormally elevated. It can, if left untreated, become a major risk factor to your overall health. Hypertension can also affect your eyes and sight. High blood pressure, as it is often referred to, can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, affecting the back of the eye where an image is focused. This disease is called hypertensive retinopathy.
Unfortunately, signs of hypertensive retinopathy only manifest themselves late in the disease. Some symptoms include double or cloudy vision, headaches and if very advanced, loss of vision. Did you know that your optometrist may be able to detect hypertension through an eye exam? If your eyes are showing early signs of the disease, your optometrist will be able to refer you to a health professional for diagnosis.
If you have recently been diagnosed with hypertension, it is crucial that you visit your optometrist and advise them of your condition. Your eye doctor will then be able to provide the best care for your eyes. It will also be important to visit your optometrist yearly in order to monitor any changes to your eyes.
Genetic factors do play a role in your risk for this disease and luckily there are medications available to stabilize your blood pressure, but there are also some lifestyle changes that you can follow in order to reduce these risks altogether. Here are a few tips:
1. Exercise regularly
2. Quit smoking
3. Limit your alcohol intake
4. Reduce your stress level
5. Eat a healthy diet.
To help you reduce your risks of hypertension, we recommend a diet filled with fruits and veggies as well as proteins such as salmon and chicken. It is important to significantly reduce the amount of salt, fat in your diet and to eliminate your intake of processed foods. Here are a few recipes that are not only delicious but healthy for your eyes and your overall health:
Lemony bean salad
Argula salad with goat cheese and fresh berries
Fresh spring rolls