You Control Your Heart Health

February 07, 2018
 

February is Heart Health Month, a good time to be reminded about the importance of taking care of your hear.

The fact is, you have more control over your heart health than you might think. Most heart attacks are linked with unhealthy lifestyle choices: eating an unhealthy diet, smoking, not exercising, drinking too much alcohol.

Following a heart-friendly diet and lifestyle can reduce your future risk of a heart attack whether or not you have already experienced one, says Dr. Milind Dhond, a cardiologist with NorthBay Healthcare.

Dr. Dhond notes that it is also important to measure and control blood pressure.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most important conditions your doctor will ever screen you for. If you haven’t had your blood pressure checked in the last year, it’s a good idea to get it checked as high blood pressure rarely causes symptoms – even when it’s dangerously high, noted Dr. Dhond.

Normal blood pressure is considered less than 120/80. Someone with blood pressure above 140/90 usually requires treatment with medication.

You are at increased risk for high blood pressure as you age. Family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, alcohol and salt intake also increase your risk. African Americans are also more prone to developing high blood pressure. Males also tend to have a higher risk of high blood pressure when they pass the age of 55.

High blood pressure places you at increased risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney damage and eye problems.

High blood pressure is often described as the “silent” killer because one usually does not have any symptoms until the blood pressure gets very high. Then symptoms may include headaches, visual disturbance and vomiting.

Treatment of high blood pressure initially involves lifestyle changes.

Exercising up to 30 minutes a day for five days a week will significantly reduce your blood pressure. Restricting alcohol intake to less than two drinks per day and eating a low-salt diet will also help. Salt is present in high quantities in processed and canned foods and also in fast foods. The ideal sodium intake would be 2000mg/day.  One 1/2 teaspoon salt is equivalent to 1,200 mg sodium. A diet high in potassium and fruits and vegetables has been shown to also reduce blood pressure. High potassium foods include spinach, mushrooms, lima beans, peas, bananas, tomatoes and orange juice.

Weight loss has also been shown to reduce blood pressure.

If you are unable to get your blood pressure under control with lifestyle changes, then your doctor may prescribe medications. There are many classes of these and they act in different ways to reduce the pressure in your arteries.

Everyone should have their blood pressure checked. This can be done at your local pharmacy or your doctor’s office. It may reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack significantly.


 

Tags: Your Wellness

Comments

 
 

Post A Comment