The other week, an interesting study came out. To tell you the truth, it’s a bit of a doozy.
The good news is that over the past two decades, deaths from heart disease has declined. But that has slowed down big-time since 2010. The reason, according to researchers, is that conditions like type-2 diabetes, obesity, and uncontrolled blood pressure are increasing. Each of these is a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can pose several risks. It can lead to torn blood vessels, swelling in the brain, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney failure. The thing is, blood pressure is highly controllable. It just takes some action on your part.
High blood pressure was previously defined as 140/90 mmHg but has recently been dropped to 130/80 mmHg. Getting it down to a manageable, safe range is required to reduce the risk of heart disease and thwart other potential risks. An action plan to reduce blood pressure includes:
- Limiting dietary salt. For most, this will mean reducing the intake of processed food. Staying at a 1,500-milligram per-day sodium intake is safe in most cases, which is the equivalent of about a half-teaspoon.
- Avoid high-cholesterol items like cheese, burgers, and ice cream.
- Eat 4-5 servings (cups) of fruits and vegetables per day. Also, try and find room for one serving (only 3 oz.) of fish 2-3 times per week (not fried or deep-fried).
- Swap out refined grains for whole grains.
- Include low-fat dairy.
- Boost activity. Fit at least 30-minutes of exercise into your day and spend less time sitting. You can divide the 30-minutes into three 10-minute sessions, and try to stand up for at least five minutes out of every hour.
These are the major components of reducing and managing blood pressure, and each is proven to work. Keep an eye on how your blood pressure is faring, and visit your doctor if these efforts don’t result in a reduction.