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It’s Time To Tackle High Blood Pressure

May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month – and though Spring is a busy time for everyone it’s important to pause and check on our heart health. Often we don’t think about our heart heart shaped stethescopehealth until it is too late, so let’s get in the habit of tracking our numbers early.

The Toll of Cardiovascular Disease

Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S.?  One in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day. Sobering numbers!

A key contributor to both heart disease and stroke 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 Is 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.

Blood Pressure ChartNormal 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. Don’t be fooled into thinking it is too late to do anything about your blood pressure – especially women who are equally at risk for high blood pressure as men.

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 bread, 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!

CalorieKing is here to help. We can help you track your food and exercise with our program, and our famous food database to help you track your calories, fat, and sodium. Also check the sodium diet guide and mini sodium counter in The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter.

Resources:

American Heart Association

Center for Disease Control

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