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Preventing High Blood Pressure

by Louise May 4th, 2017 | Health Observance
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Blood Pressure MonitorMay is High Blood Pressure Prevention Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one third of adults are living with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. 68 million Americans are living with high blood pressure.

What are the risks of high blood pressure? The two leading causes of death in America are heart attack and stroke, and high blood pressure often is a major contributing factor to both conditions. Thus, high blood pressure is recently said to be at least partly responsible for around 300,000 deaths per year. Other diseases for which hypertension is a major risk factor for are congestive heart failure as well as kidney disease. It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly to ensure that it remains at a proper level. High blood pressure is also known as the “silent killer,” because it does not have any symptoms. Fortunately, high blood pressure is a reasonably preventable and controllable condition.

One of the biggest culprits for causing high blood pressure is high sodium intake. The recommended limit of sodium intake for most individuals over 2 years old is 2,300mg. Those who are 51 years or order, African American, or known to have high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, must stick to just 1,500mg. How does the average American compare? With a mean intake value of about 3,300, the average American actually consumes nearly %150 of the recommended limit (and note that it is indeed a limit and not the actual recommended intake, which would be lower). Nine of ten Americans simply eat too much sodium. A decrease in sodium intake is generally accepted to be correlated with a decrease in blood pressure levels. It has been suggested that the number of cases of high blood pressure could be reduced by 11 million if American simply consumed the recommended value rather than the current excessive amount.

How can you cut back on sodium? Unfortunately, this is not as simple as stashing away the salt shaker; the majority of sodium that we consume comes from purchased processed and packaged foods as well as restaurant meals. In a restaurant, salt is a staple ingredient, but you can always ask your server to request that the chef prepares your meal with less sodium. When in the grocery store, it is best to compare the nutrition labels of similar products and select the lower sodium option if all other components are relatively similar. Dependably and naturally sodium free items are fresh or frozen (as long as no sauce or salt is added) fruits and vegetables.

Controlling your sodium intake will help you control your blood pressure and prevent hypertension and maintain healthier body.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.