High blood pressure increases your risk for stroke and heart failure (weakening and enlargement of the heart muscle). About 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure in the United States. Medications of course can help to lower blood pressure and many adults need at least 2 or 3 different medications to control their blood pressure especially as they get older.
Here are a couple of lifestyle changes that can also help lower your blood pressure:
1) Low Sodium (salt) Diet – recommendation is less than 2,000 mg of sodium daily
2) Increase Potassium Rich Foods – recommendation is 4,700 mg of potassium daily. Good food sources of potassium include: Bananas, Dried beans, Tomatoes, Beef, Orange juice/grapefruit juice, Milk, Coffee, Potatoes, Kidney beans, Salmon/Halibut.
3) Exercise – Aim for 30 minutes 5 to 7 days every week
4)Weight loss (if overweight) or maintain healthy weight
5) Use fresh garlic (chop garlic and let sit for 15 minutes – this allows garlic to oxidize and gets converted to allicin which is the heart healthy part of garlic)
The goal blood pressure for all adult men and women is less than 120/80 (this includes adults taking blood pressure medications).
A recent Centers for Disease Control publication stated that ONLY ABOUT 30% of adults with high blood pressure have their blood pressure well controlled!!! This is an important health risk and you need to play an active role – follow the lifestyle changes listed above, monitor your blood pressure regularly, know your numbers, and discuss your blood pressure with your healthcare provider.
“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” discusses how women can help control their blood pressure and other risk factors to prevent a heart attack, stroke and heart failure. “Take Charge: A Man’s Roadmap to a Healthier Heart” is due to be released Fall 2009. For more info visit www.heart-strong.com