When you are battling cancer, other health issues often take a backseat. However, dealing with these issues can be crucial in supporting your health journey through a difficult condition. Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is one such chronic health issue that cancer patients should not ignore. Unchecked high blood pressure keeps you stressed more often and deteriorates your body, opening the door to further complications and making cancer treatment more of a challenge. This article contains steps you can take alongside EPIC Health to help deal with high blood pressure as a cancer patient.
Causes of High Blood Pressure in Cancer Patients
It is believed that various cancer treatments can lead to high blood pressure. Medications and chemotherapy drugs can also cause patient’s blood pressure to spike as these medicines interfere with the growth of new blood vessels as well as their healthy development.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
While cancer and its treatments can potentially increase your risks for high blood pressure, there are other factors that can increase your risk too. These include:
- Lack of physical activity
- Increased sodium intake
- Age – 65 and above
- Genetics – family history of high blood pressure
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Other diseases and conditions
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a “silent” disease and usually isn’t noticed until it has caused serious damage to your organs. However, people with high blood pressure often experience “hypertensive crises” in which their blood pressure shoots up well above the normal range – 180/110 or higher. During the hypertensive crisis, people with high blood pressure may experience:
- Severe headaches
- Excessive sweating
- Shortness of breath
- Nose bleeds
- Numbness or weakness
- Difficulties in speaking
- Changes in vision
- Back pain
Further Health Conditions That Can Follow High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can have a deep and lasting effect on your health. Over time, it can damage your nerves and weaken the arteries of your heart, putting you at an increased risk of:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
How High Blood Pressure Interferes with Your Cancer Treatment
Not only does high blood pressure lead to other health issues, it can also interfere with your cancer treatment and worsen your condition. High blood pressure can:
- Cause reactions between your cancer drugs and other medications
- Derail your cancer treatment significantly and weaken its effectiveness
- Bring your entire cancer treatment to standstill
- Slow down your recovery from cancer treatment
So, caring for your blood pressure really means you’re giving your cancer treatment a boost. To keep tabs on your blood pressure levels:
- Monitor it regularly and watch out for signs that may indicate any changes in your blood pressure levels.
- Ask your healthcare team if your cancer treatment or chemotherapy medications are putting you at risk for high blood pressure. Work with them to know the substitutes that can help you stay protected.
- Be diligent about your checkups, annual physicals, and regular health routines.
Below are a few more things that you can do to keep your blood pressure well within healthy limits.
Tips to Manage Your Blood Pressure During Cancer Treatment
To keep your blood pressure under control:
- Take your prescribed medicines on time: It is extremely important for people suffering from high blood pressure to take their prescribed medicines on time and as directed by their healthcare provider. Never miss your medicines and do not stop them unless directed by your doctor.
- Stay physically active: While it may get difficult for cancer patients to perform intense physical activity, try to stay as active as possible and strive to build a healthy exercise routine, for at least 20 to 30 minutes in a day.
- Watch your waistline: Excessive body weight is one of the biggest factors that leads to high blood pressure. To manage your risk, try to reduce your body weight and keep it well within the healthy range.
- Quit smoking: Tobacco use is among the most widely recognized sources of high blood pressure and cancer, and it’s a health liability. Your cancer treatment, blood pressure levels, and overall health will benefit from cutting out smoking.
- Stay stress free: Try to maintain a healthy work-life balance to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Get close to nature, close your eyes, and concentrate on things/thoughts that can help you relax. Practice yoga, meditation, or other relaxation techniques to experience more well-being and keep your blood pressure in check.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet: Make sure you are eating a diet that’s loaded with fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, protein, and nuts. Cut down the sugar and salt content in your food and minimize the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet.
- Limit your caffeine intake: Caffeine can significantly increase your blood pressure levels. So, keep coffee and other caffeinated beverages to a bare minimum.
- Avoid alcohol completely: Even moderate amounts of alcohol can significantly impact your blood pressure levels. As a cancer patient, your best bet is to call it quits with alcohol.
- Schedule regular visits to your healthcare practitioner: Make sure to visit your primary care physician at regular intervals to keep track of your blood pressure. Only through regular testing and screening will your doctor be able to keep your blood pressure levels within healthy limits.
Through regular screening, treatment plans, and lifestyle guidance, our healthcare experts can help you to manage your high blood pressure symptoms as well as their underlying causes. Our personalized treatment plans are perfect for those suffering from cancer and other chronic health conditions that need individualized care.
Schedule a visit at EPIC Health today!