According to the data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in every three adult Americans has hypertension or high blood pressure. Unfortunately, about 20% of these people don't even know they have it and thus, are not doing anything to keep the condition under control. Needless to say, this can be very alarming since hypertension is known to cause vision loss, dementia, aneurysms, kidney failure, heart attacks and strokes.
Hypertension can affect anyone regardless of age and background. However, it is notably more common among older people and those who are considerably overweight or obese. Interestingly enough, hypertension affects Blacks more seriously and is more common among African Americans as compared to other races.
Lowering Your Risk of Hypertension – How Can You Do It?
Hypertension is highly preventable. You can significantly reduce your risk by following the parameters for a healthy lifestyle. Specifically, you need to:
- Eat large amounts of vegetables on a daily basis. Following the guidelines set by the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, otherwise known as the DASH diet, can help lower your blood pressure in just about 14 days. In addition, lowering your sodium intake to about 1,500 mg per day can also help reverse the condition.
- Be physically active. Engage in leisurely physical activities at least three times per week. This can help keep your blood pressure under control and help you maintain a healthier weight.
- Avoid smoking. Studies reveal that about 30% of all deaths resulting from heart disease can be traced back to smoking since the toxic chemicals found in tobacco are considered to be one of the major causes of coronary artery disease. In addition, its nicotine content reduces the oxygen supply to the heart which, in turn, increases blood pressure, heart rate and the risk of blood clotting.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure levels so if you're going to drink, please do so in moderation. To be on the safe side, women should limit their alcohol consumption to one drink per day while men below 65 should not have more than two drinks per day. Men over the age of 65 should likewise stick to one drink per day.
- Maintain a normal body weight. For best results, aim for a body mass index (BMI) lower than 25.
Keeping your blood pressure under control can help you live a healthier and fuller life so start eating a healthier diet, be more physically active, avoid smoking, reduce your alcohol intake and try to maintain a healthy body weight. The rewards will definitely prove worth your while!