Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Did you know that one in three women’s deaths each year is due to heart disease and stroke? According to the American Heart Association, these numbers don’t lie. This is why they call high blood pressure the “silent killer”. You can have no symptoms and suddenly get a stroke or a heart attack. Imagine my utter shock when about three months ago, I went to get my yearly physical and it was discovered I had hypertension. How could this happen to me I thought instantly. Sure, my mom and grandma both have high blood pressure, but it would skip a generation, right? Wrong! After researching, I learned that one of the risk factors of high blood pressure is a family history. Knowing the risk factors of high blood pressure are essential to your survival. Here’s what I learned. If you’ve been minding your own business, meaning not drinking excessively, exercising regularly, eating nutritiously, zeroing in on your stressors, not smoking, then you are on your way to getting back to being healthy. Know your numbers. 120/80 is considered a normal blood pressure reading. Check your body mass index number, which is your weight by your height and see if you fall into the obese category. Know your total cholesterol, the good and the bad and your blood pressure. Also, have your blood sugars checked yearly. Move: Walking at least 15 minutes per day. Exercise is good for your heart and good for your bones. It also is an excellent stress reducer. If you can do 30 minutes of aerobic activity five days a week, such as biking, walking, or swimming that can reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Always ask your doctor before changing your exercise routine. Consider changes in your diet. See a nutritionist, research a more heart healthy diet full of leafy green vegetables and hearty legumes. Cut down on red meat and full-fat dairy. Strive for a heart-healthy diet of chicken, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Watch your carbohydrates if you want to lose weight and keep blood sugar in check. Avoid salt if you have hypertension. Here’s a very short list. Some heart healthy foods Apples, bananas, oranges, broccoli, carrots Legumes Fish rich in Omega 3, fatty oils First thing, drink water. Cottage cheese Peanut butter Chocolate, at least 70% cocoa Raspberries Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Seeds Warm milk and honey Blueberries Almonds Kale chips Turkey bacon Big NO No’s Coconut Oil, salt, caffeine, red meat, food and drinks high in sugar. Be a stress zapper: We can’t get rid of stress in our lives, however, we can find ways to balance our lives. Exercise is an excellent stress reducer, as is journaling. When you are stressed, try to avoid eating unhealthy, this will only compound the problem. Don’t take for granted your health. Even if you feel great, take a moment out of your busy schedule and do a blood pressure reading. They are free at most CVS and Walmart stores. At select Walgreens, you can ask the pharmacist if they do free blood pressure readings. If you do have high blood pressure, remember there’s no stigma in taking blood pressure medicine and your loved one’s would rather have you around than potentially gone.