How to Reduce High Blood Pressure
by: Chris Chenoweth
Everyone has 'blood pressure'. It is a measure of how hard your heart has to work in
order to pump blood around your body.

Normal blood pressure levels:

The 'normal' level is usually said to be 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic), although this
varies with age, stress and activity. If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90, you
should have a chat with your doctor.

How to find out if your blood pressure is high:

A person with high blood pressure can look and feel perfectly OK. There are usually
very few obvious symptoms. The only way to know what your blood pressure is, is to
have it measured. So if you haven't had it checked in the last couple of years, get it
checked. If you are aged 40 or over, you should get it checked about once a year,
especially if you smoke or suffer from obesity or drink to excess.

If you have high blood pressure:

The most important thing is, DON'T PANIC! High blood pressure is relatively common
and is caused by a variety of factors. Fortunately, it usually responds very well to proper
treatment, so - don't worry!

Causes of high blood pressure:

Usually, there is no single cause. A variety of factors are involved:

The effect of high blood pressure:

High blood pressure adds to the workload of the heart and arteries. Over time, this can
lead to an increased likelihood of heart attacks and strokes.

Guidelines for Reducing High Blood Pressure:

*Family history of high blood pressure - If you have a family history of high blood
pressure and your own blood pressure is high, your doctor may recommend drug
treatment. This will usually be for life, although the risk of a stroke or heart attack is
usually greatly reduced.

*No family history - If your blood pressure is high but you don't have a history of high
blood pressure in your family, your doctor may still recommend drug treatment.
However, in most cases, your doctor will advise you to adopt a healthier lifestyle along
the following line:

*Quit smoking:
Smoking and high blood pressure are two serious factors for heart disease and stroke.
Smoking 20 cigarettes a day gives you twice the normal risk of a heart attack and five
times the risk of a stroke.

*Avoid being overweight:

High blood pressure and stokes are twice as common in obese people. Diabetes is four
times more common in middle-aged obese people.

*Eat less salt, and more fruit & vegetables:

Switch to low-sodium brands of salt. Don't add too much salt to food, especially
processed food (processed food often contains high levels of salt). Spice your food with
other ingredients.

*Regular amounts of fresh fruit & vegetables help to maintain a normal blood pressure.
They also help protect you against heart disease and cancer. Make lots of home-made
soup (disguises the taste of green vegetables!) and eat lots of chopped fruit (chopped
fruit is less frightening than whole pieces of fruit!)

*Get more active:

Long term regular physical activity can lower your blood pressure. Provided you take it
slowly to begin with and gradually build up to about 20-30 minutes a day, exercise has
enormous benefit. Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

*Learn to relax:

Stress is a major contributory factor to disease. Exactly how it affects blood pressure is
not known, but anything that helps to ease your mind and reduce worry is GOOD. So
go with the flow and start relaxing.

About The Author

Chris Chenoweth, author of the Do-It-Yourself Home Health & Money Guide, writes
articles pertaining to nutrition, health issues, and household budgeting. If you would like
to find out more information on the Do-It-Yourself Home, Health & Money Guide,
please visit:
This article was posted on September 04, 2006

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The
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