April 7th is World Health Day. WHD marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. Evert year a theme is selected to highlight a priority area of public health concern in the world.
The theme for this year is high blood pressure.
Did you know that one in three adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, increases the risk of heart attack, strokes Â and kidney failure. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the risk of developing these complications is even higher in the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes.
High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” because the condition rarely causes observeable symptoms.
Luckily, high blood pressure is both completely preventable and treatable.
How is High Blood Pressure Treated?
Most times, when a person is diagnosed with high blood pressure, their doctor prescribes blood pressure medications. Although usually well tolerated, blood pressure medications can cause side effects, with some proving serious or disruptive. Some of these side-effects include:
- gout, fever,
- asthma symptoms,
- and erectile dysfunction – among others.
To avoid these symptoms, some patients opt for alternative approaches. In fact, there are several nutritional methods that can be applied to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure:
- Reducing sodium. Reducing sodium (salt) intake can benefit nearly everyone with hypertension. Consuming less sodium can help prevent, or at least control, high blood pressure. Most Americans consume more salt than they need. The current recommendation is to consume less than 2.3 grams of sodium a day. That equals 6 grams (or about 1 teaspoon) of table salt per day.
- Eating a balanced diet. In addition to restricting sodium intake, a ‘balanced’ diet is crucial to maintain a healthy heart and circulation system, as well as to provide pain reliefÂ and inflammation. What makes up a healthy, balanced diet? Fruit, vegetables, fish, lean meat, beans, legumes as well as a restrictin of sugar, fat and processed foods.
- Reducing alcohol consumption. Drinking too much alcohol can also raise blood pressure in people with hypertension or even cause a person with normal blood pressure to develop the condition. Also, hypertension medication and alcohol can combine to increase side effects and alter the effectiveness of the medicine. In general, one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men is okay.
- Quitting smoking. Tobacco is very harmful to your health. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this article. What migt come as a surprise is the fact that research has found that your risk of heart attack and stroke starts to drop immediately after stopping the use of tobacco products, and that that risk can drop by as much as half after one year.
In addition to the previous lifestyle modifications, regular physical exercise can also be used to help a body heart-healthy and manage weight. The current recommendations include at least 30 minutes of regular physical activity every day helps to maintain cardiovascular fitness; at least 60 minutes on most days helps to maintain healthy weight.
High blood pressure shouldnâ€™t have to affect 1 in 3 adults in the US. With proper education regarding natural prevention and treatment, the incidence of cardiovascular fatalities can decrease.
[box type=”note”]For more information on creating a custom nutrition plan right for you, consult with you local physician or registered nutritionist. If you are currently taking medication for high blood pressure, it is advised not to stop without first consulting with your physician first.[/box]