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High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure

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Published by nymufti
Control your High Blood Pressure without medicines.
Control your High Blood Pressure without medicines.

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Published by: nymufti on May 09, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE - 13 Ways to Reduce ItAt last count, 62,770,000 Americans had or were being treated for high blood pressure,according to the American Heart Association (AHA). That's almost one-quarter of our country's population. Every year, 31,630 of these individuals die as a direct result of thecondition, the AHA says. An additional 147,470 deaths every year occur from stroke (a blood clot that travels to the brain), making it the number-one fatality related to high blood pressure. Another 2,980,000 Americans have had a stroke and lived. Many of these people are now severely disabled and unable to care for themselves. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as having blood pressure (the force that is created bythe heart as it pumps blood into the arteries and through the circulatory system) equal toor higher than 160 systolic (the top number) over 95 diastolic (the bottom number),according to William P. Castelli, M.D., director of the Framingham Heart Study inFramingham, Massachusetts, the oldest and largest heart-disease study in the UnitedStates. Between 140 and 159 systolic over 90 to 94 diastolic is considered "borderline"high. Below these numbers is considered normal. In addition to strokes, high blood pressure can cause blindness, kidney failure, and a swelling of the heart that may lead toheart failure. Who's at risk for high blood pressure? People with a family history of thecondition, blacks (they have an almost one-third greater chance of having high blood pressure compared to whites), overweight individuals, and aging individuals. Also at risk are women who are pregnant or who are taking oral contraceptives. The good news isthat, together with your doctor, you can control hypertension. It won't be easy--you'llhave to change the way you think and act. You may have to take medication for the restof your life. You'll definitely have to cut out some bad habits and begin some new, morehealthful ones. However, your efforts are likely to pay off in a longer, healthier life.Here's to your health! Join the club. It may sound trivial, but the first step towardcontrolling your blood pressure is actually accepting that you've got a problem to beginwith, says David B. Carmichael, M.D., medical director of the Cardiovascular Institute atScripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California. "People must accept the fact thatthey've got hypertension," he says. "The worst person in the world is an aggressive 40-year-old male who comes in feeling fine and is told he has hypertension and will have tomonitor his blood pressure. They often just won't believe it. In fact, if I ask myself whattype of patient has left my practice over the years, I would say it has been thehypertensives." Carmichael likens this type of acceptance to joining a fraternal lodge."You've got to do certain things: go to the doctor, take your medications faithfully,modify your diet, report bizarre symptoms. You have got to join the club."Lose weight."At all levels of blood pressure, increased weight contributes to the degree of blood pressure elevation," says Robert A. Phillips, M.D., Ph.D., director of the HypertensionSection and associate director of the Cardiovascular Training Program in the Division of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. "Weight loss lowers blood pressure--not in everybody, but in many people. It's worth a try." Phillips explains that for 
each pound of excess body weight that is lost, blood pressure may drop by two points."It's always a good thing to do, even if you are severely hypertensive," he says. "If youare mildly hypertensive, that weight loss may enable you to stay off of medication." Evena modest amount of weight loss is better than none at all, according to Castelli. "The mostcommon problem in hypertension is borderline hypertension--between 140 and 159systolic and 90 to 94 diastolic," says Castelli. "That level of blood pressure increases therisk of stroke three times. And yet, virtually all of those people would be cured with aten-pound weight loss."Invest in a home blood pressure monitor. If you have beendiagnosed as hypertensive, or if your doctor wanted more blood pressure readings beforemaking a definitive diagnosis, he or she may have prescribed you a home blood pressuremonitor. At-home monitoring has several benefits--first and foremost, warning you if your pressure becomes dangerously high, so you can get medical attention early. Second,a monitor can save you money, because it will save you trips to the doctor. "This is nowvery common," says Carmichael. "It is also easy to do. If the patient is afraid to use themonitor [some people become panicky if they find their pressure is high], another person,such as a spouse, can do it for them. The blood pressure should be checked at close to thesame time of day, under the same conditions." Carmichael says that most insurancecompanies will cover the purchase of such devices if prescribed by a physician.Start anexercise program. Along with helping with weight loss, exercise confers additional benefits for those with high blood pressure, says Phillips. "For people who are severelyhypertensive, they shouldn't exercise until their blood pressure is controlled," he says,"but people with mild hypertension can exercise aerobically for 20 to 30 minutes, threetimes per week, and will benefit with a reduction in blood pressure by about eight pointsthat will last at least half a day." It's best to check with your doctor before beginning anyexercise program, especially if you have been sedentary. The types of exercise that aremost likely to benefit your blood pressure are walking, jogging, stair-climbing, aerobicdance, swimming, bicycling, tennis, skating, skiing, or anything else that elevates your  pulse and sustains the elevation for at least 20 minutes. Nonaerobic exercise, such asweight lifting, push-ups, and chin-ups, may actually be dangerous for hypertensives.These types of exercise should not be done without the explicit consent of your doctor.Take your blood pressure medicine. The biggest danger with hypertension,Carmichael says, is that it is usually asymptomatic until its final stages, where it becomesfatal. That's why the condition is often labeled "the silent killer." Unlike people who haveother chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, you'll probably feel just fine if you don't takeyour medicine. However, inside your body, the disease will continue to progress,damaging the arteries in your eyes, destroying your kidneys, causing your heart to swell,and so on. Another problem that can occur when you stop taking your blood pressuremedicine is a rebound phenomenon, where the blood pressure rises to a higher level thanit was before you started taking the medication. The moral of the story? "If you're startingand stopping taking your medication, you haven't joined the club," saysCarmichael.Cultivate a taste for less-salty foods. "There is no question that salt in the diethas a relationship with blood pressure," says Jeffrey A. Cutler, M.D., a hypertensionspecialist and chief of the Prevention and Demonstration Research Branch of the NationalHeart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. "We Americans take in far moresalt than we need. We've become accustomed to the taste. However, the fact is that our taste sense is adaptable. People who lower the salt in their diets, after a period of time,
have been shown to taste something as salty at a much lower level of salt than before."The average American takes in about eight to ten grams of salt a day, Cutler says.However, studies have shown that by cutting that amount down by a third, blood pressurecan be significantly reduced, he says. Ideally, he says, people should cut down to sixgrams per day as a short-term goal, and to about four-and-a-half grams per day as a long-term goal.Read labels. So how do you know how much salt you're eating? As far as tablesalt goes, one teaspoon contains over two grams--almost half of the recommended dailyamount. Also, says Cutler, the average American adult takes in somewhere between one-and-a-half to two extra teaspoons of salt a day without knowing it. These insidious saltsources are frozen entres, canned vegetables, even antacid medications. To avoid thisextra salt, read labels. Many labels will express the amount of sodium in milligrams(1,000 milligrams is equivalent to 1 gram). To calculate the amount of sodium chloride,or salt, multiply the amount of sodium by two-and-a-half, Cutler says.Say no to a secondround. Restriction of alcohol consumption to one drink (1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 4ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer) per day does not appear to increase the risk of high blood pressure, but consuming two or three drinks per day is associated with an elevatedrisk of hyper-tension, according to Phillips.Eat a banana. One substance (other than prescription medication) that has been proven to reduce blood pressure is potassium, saysCutler. However, it may be difficult to increase your intake of potassium enough to lower  blood pressure, he adds. While supplements may help, they are not recommended withoutthe permission of a doctor, since they may be hazardous in individuals with certainmedical conditions. "The average person needs three to four servings of potassium-richfruits and vegetables per day," he says. "It would probably benefit your blood pressure ina detectable way if you could double that number of servings. A little more may be a little better, and a lot more may be a lot better." Potassium-rich foods include bananas, raisins,currants, milk, yogurt, and orange juice.Drink your milk. Some studies have shown thatextra calcium added to the diet may have a modest effect on blood pressure, says Phillips.Although the effect may not be significant, there's certainly no harm in adding a fewextra glasses of skim milk, low-fat yogurt, or leafy green vegetables to the daily diet, hesays.Add polyunsaturated oils to your diet. Most people know that by substituting polyunsaturated oils for saturated fats in their diets they can reduce their level of bloodcholesterol. However, what most people don't know is that polyunsaturates can alsoreduce blood pressure, according to James A. Hearn, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Switching to canola andsafflower oils in cooking can cut your blood pressure by ten points," he says.Quitsmoking--now. Cigarette smoking is the number-one taboo for hypertensives, saysPhillips. Not only does the nicotine in the smoke cause blood pressure to rise, but itdramatically raises your risk of stroke, he says. According to the AHA, cigarette smokingcan thicken the blood and increase its propensity to clot. Blood clots in the arteriesleading to the heart can cause a heart attack, while blood clots in the artery leading to the brain may cause a stroke, according to the AHA. The good news is, you get an immediate benefit by giving up the habit right now. "Two years after you quit smoking, your risk of developing coronary artery disease has dropped to the same level as someone who never smoked," Phillips says. In contrast, it can take much longer for a person's risk of lungcancer to drop to that level. Your doctor can be a great source of help to you in quittingsmoking. He or she may prescribe nicotine gum or skin patches to reduce withdrawal

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