Preventing & Controlling High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, greatly increases chances of developing cardiovascular diseases and is the most important risk factor for stroke. High blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer” because most people with this condition do not feel sick. The deceptive nature of high blood pressure makes it particularly important for regular monitoring each time you visit the doctor or other health professional visit.
What You Can Do: Control and Prevention
If you have high blood pressure, you can control it with proper treatment. If you don’t have high blood pressure now, you can take steps to prevent it from developing. You can help to control and prevent high blood pressure by taking the following steps:
Limit Alcohol Use. If you drink alcohol, have no more than one drink per day. That means no more than 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of hard liquor.
Use Less Salt. Try seasoning foods instead with herbs, spices, and lemon juice. Keep in mind that sodium, an ingredient in salt, is “hidden” in many packaged and processed foods. Check product labels for the amount of sodium in each serving. Many experts advise a total daily salt intake of no more than 6 grams, which equals about 2,400 milligrams of sodium – this includes whatever is added during cooking and at the table. If you would like to try a salt substitute, talk with your doctor first, because they are not safe for everyone.
Be Physically Active. Even low- to moderate-intensity activity, if done regularly, can help control and prevent high blood pressure. Examples of such exercise are walking for pleasure, gardening, yard work, moderate-to-heavy housework, dancing, and home exercise. Try to do one or more of these activities every day.
Maintain a Healthy Weight. Taking off excess pounds will help to control and prevent high blood pressure, and will lower the chances of developing cardio-vascular disease in several other ways. Weight loss will help to prevent and control diabetes, and it can also lower blood cholesterol levels. Finally, since being overweight raises the chances of developing heart disease, losing weight can lower overall risk.
There are many factors that affect the health of our hearts. One controllable factor is HIGH BLOOD CHOLESTEROL. As one of the key factors for heart disease, cholesterol can be a silent killer. You can help keep your cholesterol at a healthy level by eating wisely and staying active. Try the following tips.
Cut the Fat
- Eat fish and skinless poultry. If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts, trim off any fat, and take only half a serving (the size of a deck of cards).
- Cook with just a little oil. Choose one that is low in saturated fat. Try olive, corn, or canola oil or avoid cooking with oil altogether. Steam or boil food when possible.
- Eat low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. Do not consume more than three or four eggs a week and limit your intake of shellfish and liver.
Fill Up on Fiber
- Grains, legumes (beans), vegetables, and fruits provide complex carbohydrates and fiber and contain no cholesterol and little saturated fat.
- Include foods that are high in fiber and contain no cholesterol in your daily diet. These heart friendly foods include whole-grain breads and cereals, oatmeal, oat bran, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, carrots, beets, turnips, strawberries, oranges, and grapefruit.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, at least three days a week. Regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging, and swimming, lowers low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol) and raises high-density lipoprotein (“good” cholesterol). It can also lower your weight, which can help reduce your total cholesterol level. Exercise also conditions your heart and lungs and helps control high blood pressure. Always check with your physician before you begin any exercise program.
Nine Ways to Get Control of Your Cholesterol
- Reduce excess body fat so that you reach your ideal body weight.
- If you drink, do so in moderation. Alcohol is high in calories, it increases risk for high blood pressure, and it increases triglyceride levels.
- Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
- Exercise – but check with your physician first.
- Eat more fiber, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and cereals.
- Limit the saturated fat in your diet. Saturated fat has a much greater impact on blood chemistry than dietary cholesterol.
- Limit your dietary cholesterol intake. (Foods high in cholesterol include fatty meats, poultry skin, eggs, and whole milk products.)
- Take medication if prescribed by your doctor.
- Find constructive ways to work through negative attitudes and emotions. Anger and hostility are two personality traits that have been linked to heart disease. Take time to relax!