Seven Ways To Reduce Your Risk From Hypertension

by Sandy Frew - Date: 2007-01-23 - Word Count: 553 Share This!

Hypertension (high blood pressure) can lead to other serious health problems or even death.

Hypertension has been called "the silent killer" for two reasons. First, it is silent since it has no specific symptoms. Secondly, it is a killer.

High Blood pressure(defined as more than 140/90mmHG) is a very common problem that affects about 50 million people in the United States alone. The British Heart Foundation reports that approximately 41% of men and 33% of women either have raised blood pressure or are being treated for raised blood pressure. The prevalence of high blood pressure increases with age in both men and women. Around 80% of men and 70% of women with high blood pressure are not receiving treatment.

People who have hypertension that is not treated are much more likely to die from, or be disabled by, cardiovascular complications such as strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, heart rhythm irregularities, and kidney failure, than people who have normal blood pressure.

Are You At Risk?

Risk factors are conditions that increase your personal risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Some of these factors, most notably, your sex, your heredity (a family history of cardiovascular disease), and your age are not under your control, but other risk factors most certainly are under your influence. Here are seven ways to reduce your risk from the "Silent Killer."

Take a walk. Take a brisk 30 minute walk everyday. Think you don't have the time for a 30 minute walk each day? How will you ever find the time for the months of convalescence that heart attacks and strokes require? Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

If You Smoke, Quit. Smoking can increase the amount of fatty material that collects in your arteries and may contribute to raised blood pressure readings.

Eat right. That means, at a minimum: lay off the salt, consume more foods that are high in fiber and low in fat (particularly saturated fat), eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables (400g) daily, increase your carbohydrate intake, and don't forget the garlic.

Avoid Heavy Alcohol Use. Drinking too much alcohol increases blood pressure and can lead to other heart problems. Moderate alcohol intake, however, is not associated with high blood pressure. Moderate alcohol intake is two drinks o r fewer per day for men and one drink or fewer per day for women.

Supplement your diet. First, supplement your diet to eliminate any obvious dietary deficiencies. If you don't eat enough fruits and vegetables, herring or mackerel, or garlic, take a supplement. Second, if your diet is well balanced you still should add a cardiovascular supportive antioxidant to your daily regime. The evidence is overwhelming: properly formulated antioxidants will help preserve your good health.

Lose weight. Excess weight puts a strain on your cardiovascular system. Losing as little as 10 pounds can help decrease your heart's workload and lower your blood pressure.

Relax. Although stress does not cause hypertension, hormones released by your body when you are under stress can increase your blood pressure. You may be able to get away with stressing out now, but you'll pay for it later. Laughing is a good way to relax as it stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain, and thus lowers the blood pressure.

The really good news is that hypertension can be treated very successfully.

However, as we all know, prevention is better than cure.

Related Tags: high blood pressure, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, silent killer, heart problems, heart care

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