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Preventing Aortic Dissection

Chronic, uncontrolled high blood pressure can weaken the inner, middle, and outer layers of the aorta, which can lead to an aortic dissection. Keeping your blood pressure under control is the best way to help prevent an aortic dissection.

Your NYU Langone doctor can help you monitor and control your blood pressure. He or she may also recommend several other lifestyle changes.

Monitor and Control Blood Pressure

Our doctors recommend scheduling regular annual checkups, which include getting your blood pressure measured. If you have chronic high blood pressure, or hypertension, your doctor may prescribe medication to lower it. Medication should always be taken as prescribed by your doctor.

A manual or electronic measuring device allows you to monitor your blood pressure at home and report any sustained changes to your doctor. Your doctor can explain how and when to take your blood pressure readings.

If you are pregnant, your doctor checks your blood pressure regularly. Pregnancy-induced hypertension is a sign of a condition called preeclampsia. Rarely, preeclampsia can lead to aortic dissection.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

People who are obese are more likely than those who weigh within a normal range to have high blood pressure. To maintain a healthy weight, doctors recommend following a balanced, nutritious diet and getting regular exercise. A diet that’s high in salt can raise your blood pressure, so you should limit your sodium intake.

NYU Langone’s Weight Management Program offers nutritional counseling and can help you reach a healthy weight.

Quit Smoking

Smoking can raise blood pressure. If you smoke, your doctor can refer you to NYU Langone’s Tobacco Cessation Programs.

The programs include cognitive behavioral techniques, such as finding alternatives to bad habits that prevent you from quitting. Specialists can also help you learn relaxation exercises to prevent your blood pressure from rising, offer nicotine replacement, or prescribe antidepressants that help minimize withdrawal symptoms.

Wear a Seat Belt

Trauma to the chest, such as hitting the steering wheel during a car accident, can cause an aortic dissection. You can help protect your chest by wearing a seat belt every time you ride in a car.

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