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Controlling Blood Pressure - A Key Component Of Heart Health

Joel Henderson Photo by Joel Henderson on April 08, 2010

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, has long been known as a major contributor to such traumatic conditions as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and even kidney failure. High blood pressure often goes undetected because in a majority of cases no symptoms exist that would indicate an individual suffers from hypertension.

Normal BP is about 120/80 and anything at or above 140/90 is considered high. Seniors over age 60 may have a Normal Blood Pressure of around 130/90, so normal is relative to many factors such as age, gender, and nationality. Here's a quick breakdown of blood pressure ranges given an average adult of moderate health and daily activity:

Normal: <120/<80

Pre-Hypertension: 120-139/80-99

Stage One Hypertension: 140-159/90-99

Stage Two Hypertension: 160+/100+

If you are experiencing higher than optimal blood pressure or if you are seeking to ensure you maintain your current heart health, there are very simple actions you can take for controlling blood pressure. Many of these actions are quite easy to implement despite what you may initially think. Using a simple cuff blood pressure monitor or other such device on a regular basis will be a key tool in tracking your average blood pressure value.

Watch What You Eat

This doesn't mean watch your food go into your mouth! Seriously, one of the easiest and most effective means of controlling blood pressure is to cut back and eliminate certain food items from your regular diet. This point is almost cliché, but I'm going to answer this cliché with another – You get out what you put in. It's easy to say, but it's true. If you eat junk all the time, you're going to get junk in return. This isn't to say that you have to eat nothing but lean chicken breast and raw vegetables for every meal, but moderation is definitely key to controlling blood pressure overall.

Over consumption of sodium (salt) is high on the list of food products that contribute to high blood pressure. An easy way to lower the amount of salt you consume is to be aware of your present shopping habits when at the grocery store. Buy your foods in this order: Fresh, Frozen, Canned/Packaged. Fresh foods have their own levels of natural sodium, so you'll almost never go wrong with fresh stuff unless you are adding gobs of salt while preparing your meals. Frozen food is okay as long as you're purchasing frozen fresh foods and not processed freezer foods. Canned and packaged stuff should be last on your list of food purchases.

Controlling blood pressure has a lot to do with your sodium intake, and food that comes out of a can or box almost always has very high levels of sodium. Just check the label on even a standard can of soup and you'll see that it contains anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of a daily average sodium intake in a single serving! A great alternative to table salt is Mrs. Dash, and there are also plenty of recipes out there that substitute Mrs. Dash for salt.

Other Consumption Contributors

Consuming alcoholic beverages in excess and using tobacco products are both significant contributors to high blood pressure. Alcohol is fine in moderation, but too much can raise your blood pressure several points. Some people think it is healthier to abstain most of the time and then binge on special occasions. Binge drinking is actually harder on the heart than drinking more than two drinks on a regular basis. Consuming tobacco products increases heart rate and constricts the blood vessels, leading to a significant increase in overall blood pressure.

That morning coffee or afternoon recharge is definitely okay, but just like alcohol or tobacco, keeping caffeine to moderate intake level is another helpful means of controlling blood pressure. Part of the rush you sometimes feel from your favorite energy drink is that sudden increase in heart rate and subsequently higher blood pressure as the caffeine stimulates your nervous system. People eventually build a tolerance to high levels of caffeine, but the process of building that tolerance is hardly beneficial to your heart health. Enjoying caffeinated drinks on a less than routine basis always has the added benefit of helping to control the possibility of developing high blood pressure.

Exercise and Moderate Activity

Staying active and getting moderate exercise are other means of controlling blood pressure. Exercise is also a great way to eliminate stress as well – stress being another contributor to hypertension. Proper diet, exercise, and reducing other types of consumption also aid in reducing overall weight and body fat, which all result in reducing your heart's work load and your chances of developing high blood pressure. Relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga also aid in reducing stress and lower your chances of developing hypertension.

Joel Henderson Photo Joel Henderson is an avid writer and fitness enthusiast. Read more about blood pressure monitors at BloodPressureMonitorsNow.com. For other health related information, here is a great website all about Electronic Body-fat Scales.

Original article published on SooperArticles.com






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