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Make Blood Pressure Control Your Goal

By Griffin Hospital on 2/12/2016

According to the Centers for Disease Control, uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Reports show that about 1 of 3 U.S. adults — or about 70 million people — have high blood pressure, and only about half (52%) of these people have their high blood pressure under control. People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.  

Since high blood pressure often shows no symptoms, getting your blood pressure checked is important.. Your doctor checks your blood pressure as part of your annual check-up, and there are regularly scheduled free blood pressure checks around the vally, including those sponsored by Griffin Hospital’s Community Outreach department.Click in to view the upcoming schedule of  blood pressure screenings in your neighborhood.

The ideal blood pressure is 120/80. If yours is higher, your heart may be at risk. Follow these tips to start managing your blood pressure and heart health:

  • Set a goal: Talk to your doctor about a realistic goal you can achieve in the short term, and steps you can take to lower your blood pressure. Track your progress over time through regular monitoring.

  • Quit smoking (and if you don’t smoke, be sure to stay clear of second-hand smoke): Most people know that smoking is bad for the lungs, but another big problem is actually the nicotine in cigarettes (and cigarette smoke.) Nicotine raises your blood pressure and heart rate, narrows your arteries and hardens their walls, making your blood more likely to clot. This puts added stress on your heart, increasing your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Griffin Hospital's That's It. Learn to Quit program can help.

  • Reduce your sodium intake: Most of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt, and the vast majority of sodium we consume (more than 75%) is in processed and restaurant foods. The U.S. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.. Although it’s smart to limit your use of added salt while cooking and at the table, the best way to reduce salt intake is by limiting processed foods (usually in a can, box or a bag), and keep restaurant dining to a minimum.Still wondering what you can eat? Learn more about the benefits of scheduling an appointment with a Griffin Hospital Nutritionist

  • Manage stress: Chronic stress is an important contributor to high blood pressure.  Think about what’s causing your stress triggers, and make an action plan to help manage them. Learn to say “no” and live within manageable commitments. And most importantly, make time to relax and partipate in activities you enjoy. Griffin offers a wide variety of wellness programs that will help you reduce stress and better manage your health.

  • Eat a rainbow: Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products can lower your blood pressure significantly. Consider adding more potassium to your diet, which can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that's best for you. Griffin Hospital offers dietary and nutrition consultation. Learn more.  

 

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heart health
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