Addressing high blood pressure

Life fitness tip of the week.
Special to the Chickasaw Journal
HOUSTON – Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. It’s normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day, but if it stays up, you have high blood pressure. Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension.
When blood pressure is high, it starts to damage the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. This can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other problems. High blood pressure is called a amp”silent killer,” because it doesn’t usually cause symptoms while it is causing this damage.
Your blood pressure consists of two numbers: systolic and diastolic. Someone with a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80 has a blood pressure of 120/80, or amp”120 over 80.amp”
n The systolic number shows how hard the blood pushes when the heart is pumping.
n The diastolic number shows how hard the blood pushes between heartbeats, when the heart is relaxed and filling with blood.
What causes high blood pressure?
In most cases, doctors can’t point to the exact cause. But several things are known to raise blood pressure, including being very overweight, drinking too much alcohol, having a family history of high blood pressure, eating too much salt, and getting older. If your blood pressure is 140/90, or 140 over 90 and up that is high blood pressure.
Your blood pressure may also rise if you are not very active, you don’t eat enough potassium and calcium, or you have a condition called insulin resistance. Without treatment, high blood pressure can damage the heart, brain, kidneys, or eyes. This damage causes problems like coronary artery disease, stroke, and kidney failure.
How is it treated?
You can help lower your blood pressure by making healthy changes in your lifestyle. If you have prehypertension, your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes. These may include losing extra weight, exercising, limiting alcohol, cutting back on salt, quitting smoking, and eating a low-fat diet that includes more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. What can you do to prevent high blood pressure?
There are lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent high blood pressure:
n Lose extra weight.
n Eat less salt.
n Exercise.
n Limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women and lighter-weight men.
n Get 3,500 mg of potassium in your diet every day. Fresh, unprocessed whole foods have the most potassium. These foods include meat, fish, nonfat and low-fat dairy products, and many fruits and vegetables.

Tip provided by AJ amp& Michelle Johnson. E-mail or call questions to (662) 448-5757


Lisa Voyles

Click video to hear audio