(NAPSI)—Almost half of the U.S. adult population has high blood pressure—that’s any reading at or above 130 for the top number or 80 for the bottom number.
If you find yourself among them, it may be wise to consider four lifestyle evaluation questions:
- How often do you eat fruits and vegetables?
- How much salt do you take in?
- Are you at least moderately active for half an hour a day?
- Are you at a healthy weight for your height?
What To Do
If your assessment reveals room for improvement, Michael Hochman, M.D., MPH, a Los Angeles physician and professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, has an encouraging message for you: “Know this: Small changes can make big differences. You don’t have to overhaul everything you do and eat. Tracking your blood pressure between health care visits lets you easily stay on top of your health. In 10 minutes or less, you can check your numbers. If you are learning for the first time that your blood pressure is creeping upward, small changes in your lifestyle—a bit more physical activity, a few more fruits and vegetables—could mean the difference between low vs. high risk for heart disease or stroke.”
Here are some hints to help you make those small changes:
- 15−20 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per day can reduce the top number in your blood pressure reading, called systolic pressure, by 5 to 8 mmHg
- Reducing sodium intake by 1,500 mg (3/4 of a teaspoon) per day can result in lowering systolic pressure 5 to 6 mmHg
- A 10-pound weight loss could lower systolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg.
Little-Known BP Raisers
If you do have high BP, consult your health care provider or pharmacist about the safety of your over-the-counter medicines.
Some OTC pain relievers, known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs—such as naproxen and ibuprofen—may raise blood pressure. Acetaminophen may be a better choice for pain. Drugstore cold and flu medicines that contain decongestants can also raise blood pressure. To avoid these BP raisers, read medication labels and discuss alternative pain, fever or cold medicine with your doctor. A quick guide to BP raisers is at heart.org/BPtools.
Take It Home
Monitoring at home can help confirm a diagnosis and determine how well your lifestyle changes and medications are working to reduce your blood pressure.
The American Heart Association’s efforts to improve healthy choices related to living with high blood pressure are proudly supported by Tylenol.
Responsible journalism is hard work!
It is also expensive!
If you enjoy reading The Town Line and the good news we bring you each week, would you consider a donation to help us continue the work we’re doing?
The Town Line is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, and all donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service code.
To help, please visit our online donation page or mail a check payable to The Town Line, PO Box 89, South China, ME 04358. Your contribution is appreciated!
- FOR YOUR HEALTH – Uniformed Services Members: Protect Your Family With The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program
- FOR YOUR HEALTH: The American Dream All Over The World
- FOR YOUR HEALTH: Safeguard Your Smile, Wherever You Go
- FOR YOUR HEALTH – Make Health A Family Reunion Affair: Talk With Your Family About Kidney Health
- FOR YOUR HEALTH: Five Ways To Help Prevent Veteran Suicide
- FOR YOUR HEALTH: Suspect Stroke? Call 911
- FOR YOUR HEALTH: Fighting the opioid epidemic
- FOR YOUR HEALTH: Support For People With Disabilities On The Journey To Work
- FOR YOUR HEALTH: Benefits Of CBD Products
- FOR YOUR HEALTH: Pressure ulcers costs healthcare billions each year