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Heart Health: Hypertension

Today I want to discuss a chronic disease that can impact your heart health and how we can use nutrition to combat it!

Hypertension, or “high blood pressure” is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high.

When your heart beats, it creates pressure that pushes blood through the body. This pressure (blood pressure) is the result of two forces: The first force (systolic pressure) occurs as blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries that are part of the circulatory system. The second force (diastolic pressure) is created as the heart rests between heart beats. These are the 2 numbers that you see when you have a blood pressure reading.

Having chronic high blood pressure can be harmful in several ways, but primarily it makes the heart and blood vessels work extra hard, and over time damage is done putting you at risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart disease, just to name a few.

Nearly half of the American population over age 20 has hypertension, and many don't even know it! It's often referred to as the "silent killer" because it has no signs or symptoms.

So what can you do?

Pay attention to your numbers! Do you know what your blood pressure normally is? Get your blood pressure checked and when you do make sure you listen or ask what your numbers are. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg.

In addition to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, sodium intake is a huge nutrition factor. Be aware of how much sodium is ALREADY in the food you are preparing and be careful about how much you add. Make sure you are draining and rinsing any canned foods and watch out for deli-meats and pre-made or pre-seasoned foods which are typically loaded with sodium.

Like any other condition, treatment needs to be individualized taking into account all of your determining factors. Do you know if hypertension runs in your family? Things like age and ethnicity can also put you at greater risk.

Be aware of what's going on in your body and take control. Get in touch with me today and let's make a plan to keep your heart healthy!

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