The Centers for Disease Control offers advice on how to lower your blood pressure to avoid hypertension. DASH, the dietary approach to stop hypertension (high blood pressure), is an eating program that’s easy to implement. The goal is to consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.
The highest acceptable level of sodium consumption is 2,300 milligrams a day. High sodium consumption generally leads to high blood pressure, an all too common condition among Americans. High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder than it should, often leading to heart disease and stroke.
One in three adults in the U.S. –65 million people–have high blood pressure. And, even if your blood pressure is normal at 55, you have a 90 percent chance of developing high blood pressure as you age.
Too many Americans have hearts that are many years older than they are, on average seven years older! Hearts age quickly for people who are overweight as well as for people who smoke and do not exercise. You can find out the age of your heart through this Just Care post: How young is your heart?
To keep your blood pressure down, what should you do?
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes five or more days a week; to stay motivated, ask a buddy to join you on a daily walk
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Drink no more than one or two alcoholic drinks a day
- Eat healthy, including: Fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk and yogurt, fish, poultry, nuts, whole grain products
- Avoid lean red meats, foods with added sugar, processed foods
- Take your blood pressure medicine as prescribed, generally every single day. Many Americans do not, to their detriment.
And, here’s how you can check your blood pressure at home.
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