May is High Blood Pressure Education Month

May is High Blood Pressure Education Month

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 1 in 3 adults are living with high blood pressure. However, most people do not even know they have it due to the lack of signs and symptoms. High blood pressure can be prevented if you know your numbers!

 

Normal Blood Pressure levels:  Systolic 120mmHg or lower;

                                                                          Diastolic 80mmHg or lower

At Risk Blood Pressure levels:   Systolic 120-139mmHg;

                                                                          Diastolic 80-89mmHg

High Blood Pressure levels:         Systolic 140mmHg or greater;

                                                                          Diastolic 90mmHg or greater

 

What is high blood pressure?

 

High blood pressure (HBP) is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways. About 74.5 million people in the United States have HBP, which is also called hypertension. Knowing your blood pressure numbers is important, even when you’re feeling fine.

 

What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?

 

At the age of 45 or younger, more men are at risk for high blood pressure. However at the age of 65 or older more women are at risk of high blood pressure. African Americans are at greater risk than Caucasians, however, high blood pressure is less likely to occur in Mexican-Americans.

 

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

 

There may be no signs or symptoms that will let a person know they have high blood pressure which is why it is dangerous and called the ‘silent killer’.

 

How can I prevent high blood pressure?

 

Your blood pressure must be checked regularly. Maintaining a normal body weight, keeping up physical activity 9moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and muscle-strengthening activities), and by reducing your sodium/salt intake you can reduce your blood pressure following a healthy eating plan of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are also ways to prevent against high blood pressure. Quit smoking and drink in moderation (≤ 2 drinks per day for men and ≤ 1 drinks per day for women) will reduce your chance of high blood pressure.  If you have high blood pressure and are prescribed medication(s), take as directed.

 

What are some tips to help make these life style choices?

 

Increase your daily activity:

*  Take the stairs instead of the elevator

*  Park far away from your destination in parking lots so you have farther to walk

*  If you take public transportation, get off a stop early

*  Take your dog or children for a walk every day

*  Do simple exercises such as squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, or just standing up and down during TV commercials

*  Walk to the bathroom that is farther away

 

Nutrition advice to help lower your BP:

*  Eat spicy instead of salty (flavor foods with herbs, spices, lemon, lime, vinegar, or salt-free seasoning blends)

*  Use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meat, rather than canned, smoked, or processed types

*  Drink water or club soda instead of soft drinks high in sugar

*  Start your day with breakfast cereals that are lower in salt and sodium

*  Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals without salt; cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta, and cereal mixes, which usually have added salt

*  Buy fresh, plain frozen, or canned with “no-salt-added” vegetables

*  Eat moderate portions, and when snacking, eat fruit, vegetable sticks, unbuttered and unsalted popcorn, nuts, seeds, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains

*  When eating out, move the saltshaker away—limit condiments, such as catsup,      pickles, and sauces with high salt-containing ingredients

*  Cut back on processed and fast foods that are high in salt and sodium

 

The heart healthy way of eating is lower in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and rich in nutrients that are associated with lowering blood pressure—mainly potassium, magnesium, and calcium, protein, and fiber.

Make these changes over a couple of days or weeks to give yourself a chance to adjust and make them part of your daily routine.

 

** It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to prevent and know your blood pressure. Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center. **

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