Dr. Ahsan Rashid and the staff of Internal Medicine Associates of Sand Canyon are proud to offer their services to the residents of Orange County, California, including those living in the Irvine area. At the facility, the doctor performs a variety of tests to diagnose and treat chronic health conditions including high blood pressure and various types of heart disease.

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What causes high blood pressure?

High blood pressure has several causes. Most cases are called essential hypertension, in which no cause can be found. This constitutes almost 90% of patients. High cholesterol and the build-up of fatty deposits and plaques in the arteries are another. Lack of exercise is also a prominent factor. High blood pressure occurs when your heart has to pump harder than normal to push the blood through your arteries to the farthest areas of the body. Excess fats and lipids can cause the blood to thicken which makes it harder to travel through the smallest of the capillaries. Body movement and the friction of the muscles on the arteries and veins helps keep them pliable and elastic. If you don’t exercise as you should, the walls of your arteries and veins lose their elasticity and no longer help your heart move the blood through your body.

How can exercise lower blood pressure numbers?

Increasing the number of times you exercise each week is the first step to improving your blood pressure readings. As the muscles in your body become stronger, they put more pressure on the veins and arteries. This pressure helps keep the blood flowing smoothly and will eventually relieve some of the pressure your heart must endure as it circulates blood through your body. Any excess weight you may be carrying can cause your blood pressure to rise. When you make positive lifestyle changes that include regular exercise you will not only improve your blood pressure numbers but will also improve your health in many other ways.

What are effective ways to reduce stress and its effects on the heart?

There are 2 types of stress: physical stress and mental/emotional stress. Physical stress is the result of working too hard or working over and above the body’s normal limits. Mental and emotional stress can begin to affect the physical body if a person doesn’t learn how to relax or deal with their emotions properly. Dr. Rashid and his staff can provide you with relaxation techniques and breathing exercises that help alleviate mental and emotional stress. When it comes to physical stress, the key is to take frequent breaks and not overdo it. Have someone assist with certain tasks or set a slower pace. Stress can also be relieved through exercise and performing tasks that a person finds enjoyable. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain that improve a person’s mood and offers a sense of well-being.