Sunday, October 30, 2011

5 Smart Ideas for Controlling Your Blood Pressure Naturally

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is called the “silent killer” because you can have no symptoms while the pressure builds up to dangerous levels in your blood vessels. The first time you might realize that you have a serious problem is when you have a stroke.

While a stroke is a common outcome of high blood pressure, it is not the only consequence. It can also lead to a heart attack, vision loss and kidney disease. But these outcomes are not inevitable. You have the power to make changes in your diet and lifestyle that can reduce your blood pressure and minimize the risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other serious outcome.

Needless to say, ‘Prevention is better than cure.” So, here are a few things that you can do to lower your health risks:

Know your family history. If a parent or sibling suffers from high blood pressure, you may be at increased risk. So, monitor your blood pressure regularly and take steps to reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure.

Watch your weight. Being obese is a risk factor for high blood pressure. You can lower that risk by losing weight. If you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, losing as little as 5 to 7 percent of your body weight could help to reduce your risk.

Modify your diet. Studies show that what you eat can affect your blood pressure. In particular, if you are salt-sensitive, eating foods that are high in salt or sodium can cause a potentially serious increase in your blood pressure. Keep your sodium intake low to prevent a potentially fatal outcome.

Try the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. This diet emphasizes foods that are high in fiber, magnesium and potassium and limits foods that are high in refined carbohydrates, trans fats and saturated fats. Fruits and vegetables are at the core of the DASH diet.

Be active. Physical activity can help to control your blood pressure several ways. One way is by promoting weight loss if you are overweight. Exercise also helps to open the blood vessels to allow oxygen-rich blood to flow to the vital organs to boost performance.

Note: The information provided on this blog is for education and information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your personal healthcare provider before making any major changes to your treatment protocol. And consult a registered dietitian for guidance regarding changes to your diet.