General News Health

Check Out The Best Way To Prevent High Blood Pressure

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High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is known as a “silent killer” because often there are no symptoms. Black Americans develop high blood pressure at a higher rate than any other racial group in the United States. Moreover, high blood pressure tends to occur at younger ages and is more severe in Black Americans. If not properly cared for high blood pressure’s progressive effects can strain the heart, damage blood vessels, and increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and even kidney disease.

According to the new 2017 guidelines published by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) for detection, prevention, management and treatment of high blood pressure, high blood pressure is now defined as readings of 130/80 mm Hg and higher.

Knowing Your Risk Is Key to Prevention

Anyone can develop high blood pressure; however, age, race or ethnicity, being overweight, gender, lifestyle habits, and a family history of high blood pressure can increase your risk. You can’t control who you are—your age, gender, race, or family history. But, you can control your lifestyle habits through physical activity, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol consumption.

Not getting enough physical activity increases your risk of getting high blood pressure. On the other hand, regular physical activity helps to strengthen your heart, lower blood pressure, control weight and reduce stress.

 

You should aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking or bicycling 5 – 9 mph. That’s just 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. If you can’t carve out 30 minutes daily for your physical activities, you can break it up into three 10-minute segments, or two 15-minute segments.

Making healthy food choices can help lower blood pressure. You should aim for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and oils like olive or canola.

A diet that is high in salt, calories, saturated fat, trans fat, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages can increase your risk of high blood pressure.

Being overweight or obese puts an extra strain on your heart and increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. It also increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Losing as little as between 10 and 15 pounds is enough to help manage or prevent high blood pressure.

Drinking too much alcohol can cause your blood pressure to increase dramatically and can also increase your risk of cancer, obesity, alcoholism, suicide, and accidents.

On the other hand, limiting alcohol consumption can help prevent high blood pressure. If you drink, limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. A drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.

The connection between high blood pressure and smoking has not been determined. However, every time you smoke, it causes a temporary increase in your blood pressure. Smoking also increases the risk of the buildup of plaque (fatty substances) inside the arteries and high blood pressure is known to accelerate that process.

 

The Number One Modifiable Risk Factor

Of all the controllable risk factors, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life may be your best defense against high blood pressure.

In a recent study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Hypertension, AHA Council on Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, American Society of Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions 2017 in San Francisco, researchers analyzed the impact of maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviors on blood pressure levels over 25 years.

The lifestyle behaviors evaluated were: healthy body weight; never smoking; less than seven alcoholic drinks weekly for women and less than 14 for men; 150 minutes or more moderate to vigorous physical activity per week; and eating a healthy diet, based on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan.

At the end of the study, researchers found those who maintained optimal body weight were 41 percent less likely to have an increase in blood pressure as they age.

Also, those who maintained at least four health behaviors were 27 percent more likely to have a normal blood pressure from early adulthood through middle age.

Bottom Line. Maintaining a healthy body weight throughout life may be your best defense against high blood pressure. But that doesn’t mean you should forget about the other lifestyle factors that contribute to your risk of developing high blood pressure. Moderate physical activity, eating a healthy well-balanced diet, and limiting alcohol consumption are all linked to maintaining a healthy weight. Together all lifestyle factors can reduce your risk for high blood pressure.

The Number One Modifiable Risk Factor

Of all the controllable risk factors, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life may be your best defense against high blood pressure.

In a recent study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Hypertension, AHA Council on Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, American Society of Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions 2017 in San Francisco, researchers analyzed the impact of maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviors on blood pressure levels over 25 years.

The lifestyle behaviors evaluated were: healthy body weight; never smoking; less than seven alcoholic drinks weekly for women and less than 14 for men; 150 minutes or more moderate to vigorous physical activity per week; and eating a healthy diet, based on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan.

At the end of the study, researchers found those who maintained optimal body weight were 41 percent less likely to have an increase in blood pressure as they age.

Also, those who maintained at least four health behaviors were 27 percent more likely to have a normal blood pressure from early adulthood through middle age.

Bottom Line. Maintaining a healthy body weight throughout life may be your best defense against high blood pressure. But that doesn’t mean you should forget about the other lifestyle factors that contribute to your risk of developing high blood pressure. Moderate physical activity, eating a healthy well-balanced diet, and limiting alcohol consumption are all linked to maintaining a healthy weight. Together all lifestyle factors can reduce your risk for high blood pressure.

Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, national speaker and author of The African American Guide to Living Well with Diabetes. She is a Dannon One Yogurt Every Day Nutrition Advisor.

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