High blood pressure, called hypertension, is a major risk factor for a stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and heart attack. It is often called a “silent killer” because it is deadly and can have no symptoms or only vague symptoms. The consequences of having a high blood pressure are unfortunately often seen after it is already too late. When your blood pressure is higher than 140/90 mmHg that is considered hypertension. If your blood pressure is above 120/80 and lower than 140/90 you have a prehypertension, which is a warning sign for you to adopt a healthier life style and visit your physician. 85% of people older than the age of 65 have hypertension.
Having a risk factors for a high blood pressure should be an alarm for you to take an action. Fortunately, all risk factors can be mitigated with a little of effort.
Weight is a major risk factors. Being overweight increases blood pressure, so it is recommended to lose weight in order to reduce or prevent hypertension. You should keep check of your waist line too. Abdominal fat is even more important than weight because it shows more precisely amount of fat in the body. Waist line over 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men is considered too high. Being physically inactive makes your blood pressure higher as well. Moderate physical activity for 30 minutes a day like gardening, walking, bicycling should be enough to keep your blood pressure in check. You can use the stairs instead of an elevator, or park your car 5 minutes away of your house to walk a little. Washing and waxing your car is a great physical activity, and also saves you some money.
Having a diabetes, abnormal cholesterol, or using tobacco are also risk factors for high blood pressure, so you need to try to control those diseases by following your doctor's instructions.
Controlling what you eat is probably the most important part of lowering your blood pressure. In the era of fast food it is really hard for most of us to eat healthy. There is an eating plan developed specifically to prevent high blood pressure called DASH („Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension“). The DASH eating plan includes poultry, fish, whole grains and nuts, and has low
quantities of red meat, fats, sweets and sugared beverages. DASH is also high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, fiber and protein. It is also very important to eat food lower in salt and sodium. The recommended dose of sodium is 1400 mg to 2400 mg daily, which is up to 1 tablespoon of salt.
You should switch to a DASH eating plan gradually, by adding fruits, grains and vegetable serving to meals, using only half of the butter or margarine, taking enzymes if you have problems with digesting food, spreading out the servings. You can control what you eat by keeping a food diary. You can make a habit of it, and it may be fun to go back and see how your eating habits have changed and how much progress you have made.