High blood pressure left untreated can lead to heart and kidney diseases, stroke and even death. It is known as the silent killer because it can strike without warning. Therefore, it is important to learn how to reduce this deadly disease.
High blood pressure stats
According to the Centers for Disease Control, which is headquartered in Atlanta, approximately 68 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. In other words, one in three adults, or 33 percent of the country, suffers from this condition, which is also the second leading cause of death in the United States.
Reduce salt and sodium
High levels of salt and sodium contribute to high blood pressure. Therefore, decreasing salt and sodium intake can help lower blood pressure levels. The USDA recommendation is 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day, which is equivalent to a teaspoon. However, if you have high blood pressure, consider lowering your salt consumption to 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily.
When shopping, it's important to check ingredient labels for sodium content. As a general rule, canned foods and frozen dinners use sodium as a preservative, so they contain more sodium than freshly-prepared food.
In addition, when you're cooking, season your food with salt-free seasoning and herbs instead of using high-sodium tenderizers and seasonings.
Other tips to lower blood pressure
You can also lower your blood pressure by making the following lifestyle changes:
- Lose weight
- Engage in exercise or any type of regular physical activity
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Increase potassium intake
Smoking, stress and excessive coffee consumption temporarily raises blood pressure levels. While smoking and stress should be avoided, they have no long-term effect on blood pressure levels. Check with your Atlanta-area family or general physician for more advice on how to lower your blood pressure.