What is High Blood Pressure and Why
Does it Matter?
- Blood pressure is important because
the higher your blood pressure,
the higher your risk of health problems in the future. If your blood pressure is high, it is
putting extra strain on your arteries and your heart. Over time, this strain
can cause the arteries to become thicker and less flexible, or to become
weaker. If your arteries become thicker and less flexible, they will become
narrower, making them more likely to become clogged up. If an artery becomes
completely clogged up (known as a clot), this can lead to a heart attack,
stroke, kidney disease or dementia.
chart shows the different blood pressure levels:
Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage High Blood Pressure
The Importance of Eating a Healthy
Eating a heart-healthy diet is important for managing your
blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart attack, stroke and other health threats. If your doctor
recommends that you lose weight, there’s a simple rule to follow: move more,
eat less, and make smarter food choices.
Aim to eat a diet
that's rich in:
- Low-fat dairy
- Skinless poultry and
- Nuts and legumes
- Saturated and trans fats
- Red meat (if you do eat red meat, compare labels and select the
leanest cuts available)
- Sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages
A list of heart healthy recipes can be found online at https://wellness.inhs.org/Recipes/
Limit Sodium (Salt) Intake
- Most of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt; the
vast majority of sodium we consume is from processed and restaurant prepared foods.
Your body needs a small amount of sodium to work properly, but too much sodium
is bad for your health. Excess sodium can increase your
reduce sodium intake:
foods with no more than 400mg of sodium per serving, or foods with no more than
10 percent of daily value of sodium per serving.
foods that have salt listed as one of the first 10 ingredients
no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Most Americans eat more than twice
that much each day.
Limiting Alcohol to Reduce Blood
If you drink,
limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and
no more than one drink per day for women. A drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of
wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you are
overweight, even a small amount of weight loss can help to lower your blood pressure.
A little weight loss can create a lot
of health gains. Did you know you might experience health benefits from
losing as few as 10 pounds? Weight loss can help manage or prevent high
blood pressure in many overweight people (those with a body mass index
(BMI) of 25 or greater).
INHS offers a
yearlong program called Group Lifestyle Balance (GLB) that is designed to help
participants reach their lifestyle goals by losing weight, increasing physical
activity, teaching healthy eating habits, and keeping participants motivated.
More information about the program and how to register can be found online at https://wellness.inhs.org/Sub.aspx?id=1903.
is great for everyone. There are many health benefits caused by increasing
physical activity, among them are proven benefits to your heart and circulatory
system. One of the best ways to manage high blood pressure is to get plenty of
physical activity. For adults, the US Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30
minutes of moderate intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling every
Smoking’s Effect on Blood Pressure
smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack
and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will
lower your risk for heart disease.
INHS offers a
free 4-week program designed to help individuals have long-term success in
quitting tobacco. To learn more about our Tobacco Cessation class, please visit
our website https://wellness.inhs.org/Tobacco-Prevention-Cessation/.
For more information about living a
heart healthy lifestyle, watch the following webinar called “A Healthy Start to
a Healthy Heart” presented by INHS’s Debbie Belknap, RN, CDE:
View the full
Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Toolkit here.