The number of Americans at risk for heart attacks and strokes just got a lot higher — an estimated 103 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure. ... Worldwide, high blood pressure affects nearly a third of the adult population and is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease-related deaths, according to the American Health Association! That’s nearly half of all adults in the United States!
And it can get worse since with the aging of our population and increased life expectancy, (mainly due to better drugs and medical care), people with high blood pressure is expected to increase. Along those lines, the death rate from people with high blood pressure increased by nearly 11% in the United States alone.
Guidelines published last November redefined high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, as a reading of 130 on top or 80 on the bottom. The standard used to be 140 over 90. The percentage of U.S. adults with high blood pressure jumped from 32 percent under the old definition to nearly 46 percent.
“Before this guideline, if your blood pressure was at 130, you weren’t supposed to do anything,” said cardiologist Dr. Kenneth Jamerson, an author of the high blood pressure guidelines. “With the new [high blood pressure] guideline, we’re having patients do something about it,” he said. For his patients, that includes 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week and the DASH diet, plus medication if the patient has additional heart disease risk factors, Jamerson said.
For those of you who are not familiar with the DASH Diet, let me provide a little overview:
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet is simple: Eat more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, whole-grain foods, fish, poultry, and nuts. Cut back on foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fats. Limit sodium, sweets, sugary drinks, and red meats. In research studies, people who were on the DASH diet lowered their blood pressure within 2 weeks! But you have to commit to this diet, and nutrition is not the only thing you need to add to your new lifestyle. Getting regular physical activity, of at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week, can work in conjunction with the diet and having your body lower its blood pressure without taking medication.
Naturally, all of the comments above take into account that you have already been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) and your doctor has advised you on steps to help you lower it. Medication would be prescribed by him/her on a case by case basis depending on just how high and at what risk you currently are at for having a cardiovascular event.
According to the statistics, only about one in five Americans gets enough exercise and poor eating habits contributed to 45 percent of U.S. deaths in 2012 from heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. And if you haven’t heard that walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes a day can help you lower your blood pressure, along with helping those who suffer from type-2 diabetes then you must be living under a rock! It's really that simple, get up off the couch, chair, bed, dig out your old sneakers, put them on and lace them up! We can get into the benefits of getting yourself a good pair of fitted walking shoes but for now, once you're cleared by your physician, get outside and walk. Even if there is snow on the ground, dress appropriately and hit the streets, bike paths, even rural walking paths. The snow won’t bother you, if you noticed, your postman/woman is out there every day delivering the mail, so you can get out there as well and do some good for your body!
We are all busy, so even though hearing that walking 30 minutes a day can go a long way in helping you to lower your blood pressure, you may be asking yourself, that’s fine, but I’m already having a hard enough time fitting in everything else I have to do each day, without finding that 30 extra minutes to get a walk in. I could argue, that if you took the time away from watching your favorite television show, Netflix drama or just seeing who’s on and what they are saying on Facebook then maybe you wouldn’t be in the shape you’re in right now? But regardless, the good news about walking is yes, doctors and dietitians say that while a brisk walk of 30 minutes or more is recommended, studies now show that taking just (3) 10-minute walks a day can also help you to lower your pressure.
Researchers from Arizona State University found that taking three 10-minute walks each day is also a smart strategy. He found that exercisers who did multiple minilessons not only reduced their systolic blood pressure during the day and evening, they also still saw reductions the following day.
“Walking three times a day, even for a short period, reduces blood pressure after each instance, so you wind up with a longer-lasting reduction,” says principal investigator Glenn Gaesser, PhD. To reap the benefits, walk at a quick pace, as though you’re late for an appointment.
But walking without keeping track of your progress and stats is also one of the key reasons that most people who begin a walking and nutrition program, fail after a 3-week period. It’s a fact that people do better when they are held accountable for their actions. One of the best ways to do this is by logging your steps each day, the distance you’ve walked and the number of calories that you burned doing so. This will give you the way to measure your progress and allow you to set goals that you can work towards. Once those goals have been met, you set new ones to work towards. In this way, you can keep your fitness routines on track and fresh with an ever-changing new goal to work towards.
In order to do this right, you need a good, reliable tracking device like a Pedometer One of our choices is the Omron Alvita , it accurately counts steps, aerobic steps, distance, and calories, all to motivate you to do more every day. Every step you take is in the direction of a healthier lifestyle,
And the carrot on the stick is after sticking to your walking and nutrition regimen, is that when you have that doctors visit in 3 months time, the results of your blood pressure may have both you, and your physician smiling at the progress your making as you see those numbers begin to drop on a steady basis.
So do you really want to become a member of that 100 million crowd of hypertension risk takers?? Of do you want to part of the group that care and take charge of their health..