Lower blood pressure and heart disease risks with these tips

Making lifestyle changes is key to preventing cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States and hypertension is known as the silent killer. Lifestyle modification is key in preventing cardiovascular disease. Michigan State University Extension recommends that individuals understand their risk of developing high blood pressure. Health experts recommend that people who want to lower their blood pressure and prevent heart disease should adopt a lifestyle which includes:

  • Regular exercise – It is recommended that adults exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Regular exercise can help with stress reduction which can be a major cause of high blood pressure.
  • Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight – Adult obesity is a major contributor to both high blood pressure and heart disease. People who are obese increase their risk for hypertension and coronary artery disease. 
  • Eat a healthy diet – A healthy heart diet includes lots of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains. (DASH diet) Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is specially designed to help people lower their blood pressure.
  • Reduce sodium - Avoid processed and fast foods which are high in salt. High sodium in your blood stream causes increased blood pressure which damages the arteries and causes cardiovascular diseases. Nutrition experts recommend that people consume less than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day. A 1500 milligrams daily sodium limit may lower blood pressure even more if combined with the DASH diet plan which has been shown to lower blood pressure in adults.
  • Limit alcohol – The American Heart Association recommends up to 1 or 2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women per day.
  • Quit smoking - Cigarette smoking increases blood pressure. According to the American Lung Association two to three months after a person quits smoking their risk of having a heart attack begins to drop and their lungs begin to function normally.  

Decide to develop a healthier lifestyle to lower your blood pressure and avoid heart disease especially if you have a family history of cardiovascular disease. By modifying your lifestyle using these healthful tips you can improve your heart health. 

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