Know Your Numbers
May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. It’s a time when we remind ourselves about the risks to our health from this silent killer. CalorieKing is not just about dieting, but educating consumers about nutrition and the long-term effects it – and exercise – can have on your health.
Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S.? Have you heard that strokes are the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in America? A key contributor to both is high blood pressure – also known medically as hypertension. It’s estimated that about 74.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from hypertension and many don’t even know it. In addition to stroke and heart disease, this one condition is a major risk factor for other health problems such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, blindness and even sexual impotence. As blood pressure goes up, life expectancy comes down.
Pre-hypertension – An Early Warning Sign
Pre-hypertension is the term that describes blood pressure levels that place you at risk of developing hypertension in the future.
Normal healthy blood pressure is 80 or below for diastolic and 120 or below for systolic. But be wary – between 80-89 diastolic and 120-139 systolic signals that you have pre-hypertension. This means that unless you take preventive action now, you are likely to gradually progress towards the tipping points of hypertension – 90 for diastolic and/or 140 for systolic.
One can’t control all risks for high blood pressure, such as family medical history, age, race, and certain medical conditions among other things. But there are risks you CAN control with sensible diet and lifestyle actions. Here are some CalorieKing tips:
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly – know your numbers!
- Maintain a healthy body weight – obesity and a high BMI (body mass index) can heighten your risk.
- Eat a well-balanced diet – load up on fruits and veggies.
- Beware of high sodium intake – it’s hidden everywhere from processed foods to medicinal products!
- Make sure to exercise – a good goal is 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week making sure each muscle group gets attention
- Quit smoking
- If you drink alcohol, only do so in moderation
- If you are prescribed medication to control your blood pressure, be sure to take it!
We are here to help. CalorieKing has America’s BEST food database to help you track your calories, fat, and sodium, and we also have dozens of articles that can inform your health choices – just search for what you are looking for here! Also check the sodium diet guide and mini sodium counter in The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter.
See our related blog: Brain Attacks – What is a Stroke?