Keep your blood pressure under control

Aug 17, 2012, 8:30 a.m.
Learning how to control blood pressure may be an important part of your aging process.

Learning how to control blood pressure may be an important part of your aging process. Not all seniors are troubled by hypertension or other blood related problems, but it is a complication for many.

Consider Hal Fullerton. At 64 years old, Hal is learning the value of keeping control over his blood pressure. The process began the day he awoke with a series of chest pains. In no short order, this man found out that he had high blood pressure topped off with high blood cholesterol. At only 15 pounds overweight, Hal Fullerton was at risk of having a "for-real" heart attack.

Four lifestyle changes that can help you lower high blood pressure

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the following lifestyle changes will help you keep your blood pressure under control:

1) Healthy eating -- A clinical study lead by those in favor of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) program indicate that controlled eating of fruits, low fat dairy products and vegetables help reduce total body fat and cholesterol. The entire DASH plan includes the freedom to eat fish, poultry and whole grains.

2) Reduced or low salt and sodium diet -- The DASH-Sodium addendum calls for a reduction in sodium intake.

3) Control your weight -- Even 10 pounds of excess body weight can increase your blood pressure. For long-term success, regulate your weight loss. Aim for two or three pounds a week. This means you only need to reduce by about 500 calories a day.

4) Physical activity -- Maintaining a lifestyle of moderate-level physical activities can help prevent and control high blood pressure. Take on simple chores such as raking leaves, washing a car or working in the garden. Add in some sports. Go walking. Take up swimming. Perhaps even shoot a few hoops on the local basketball court. It is not as much what you do as it that you do.

Learning how to drop your blood pressure is not difficult. The knowledge comes cheap. Having the will and the gumption to make it happen is up to you.

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