How business executives can avoid high blood pressure
A new study has recently revealed that the act of treating high blood pressure eats up about 10 per cent of Canada’s health-care budget. Unfortunately, these numbers are only continuing to grow!
In 2010 alone, the federal government spent $13.9 billion treating the symptoms and consequences of this condition. If nothing is done, Canadian taxpayers could pay more than $20 billion by 2020 on this disease.
Specifically, the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine has stated that nine out of 10 people will develop high blood pressure during their lives.
RELATED TOPIC: Making Canada’s businesses and employees even healthier
And while high blood pressure can be caused by a variety of factors, one of the main roots is stress. If you have a particularly high-charged career in which you’re consistently feeling overwhelmed or strained, then you could be at risk for developing high blood pressure.
To stop the problem before it begins (or to maybe get a handle on the issue), we’ve put together a list of lifestyle changes that can help you avoid this growing disease.
As your weight increases, so can your blood pressure. Working 12+ hour days may not leave much room for exercising or eating healthy, but it’s vital to take care of yourself and to be mindful of your state of health.
Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. In fact, just losing 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure. Therefore, make time to exercise regularly and eat healthy. Avoid the convenience of fast, greasy foods.
Reduce sodium intake
One of the main components to eating healthy is to avoid or reduce your sodium intake. Even the smallest reduction of sodium in your diet can reduce your blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.
There are different ways you can accomplish this goal such as reading food labels, eating fewer processed foods and by not adding table salt to your meal.
If you happened to have a particlualry stressful day at the office, you may choose to unwind with a cocktail—watch how many you throw back.
Sure, in small amounts, alcohol can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg. However, if you drink too much, then alcohol can have the opposite effect. Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points, as well as reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
The same can also be said for caffeine—what the amount you put into your body on a daily basis.
If you’re a smoker, stop! Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish it. Quitting smoking can actually help your blood pressure return to normal, as well as potentially increase your life expectancy.
Get rid of stress
And finally, if your life is stressful, it’s imperative to rid yourself of these situations. After all, stress can lead to eating poorly, consuming more alcohol and smoking more cigarettes—all triggers of high blood pressure.
Determine what factors in your life are particularly stressful, and then find ways to eliminate stress from these areas. You may need to change your expectations, learn your stress triggers or make significant time to relax and take part in activities that you enjoy.
You only get one life and one body, so take care of yourself—no one else is going to do it for you!
RELATED TOPIC: Three ways to help keep your employees healthy
For the latest news in the healthcare industry, visit our sister brand Healthcare Global.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.