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Feature Articles
 Understanding Glycemic Index
 Spring Low Carb Recipes
 Taming High Blood Pressure
 Making Low Carb Crepes
 Getting a "Safe" Tan
 Are Phereomones Real?
 Benefits of White Tea
 Eyes That Sizzle
 Best of The Low Carb Blogs
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                 Taming High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure: A force to be reckoned with...

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. And this gives us a chance to throw the spotlight on a danger many of our readers are dealing with every day...

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. When that force stays too high, it becomes a life-threatening condition — high blood pressure (also called hypertension). It makes the heart work too hard, hardens the walls of arteries, and can cause the brain to hemorrhage or the kidneys to function poorly or not at all.

A blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.

Who does high blood pressure impact?

  • More than 65 million American adults — 1 in 3 — have high blood pressure.

  • Nearly 60 million Americans are over age 55 which means they have a 90 percent likelihood of developing high blood pressure in their lifetimes.

  • African Americans are more likely to develop high blood pressure than any other racial or ethnic group and tend to develop it earlier and more severely than others.

  • 18 million Americans have diabetes which increases their chances of developing high blood pressure.

  • 122 million American adults are overweight or obese which increases their chances of developing high blood pressure.

Risky business

Anyone can develop high blood pressure. But these factors increase the risk: being overweight or obese, being physically inactive, high salt and sodium intake, low potassium intake, excessive alcohol consumption, and diabetes.

Why should you care about high blood pressure?

  • High blood pressure can lead to numerous other life-threatening conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure, the #1, #3, and #9 causes of death in the United States.

  • High blood pressure is a factor in 67 percent of heart attacks in the United States.

  • High blood pressure is a factor in 77 percent of strokes — the #3 cause of death in the United States.

  • High blood pressure precedes 74 percent of cases of heart failure in the United States.

  • High blood pressure is the second leading cause of chronic kidney failure in the United States — responsible for 26 percent of all cases.

  • High blood pressure causes more visits to doctors than any other condition — just a 10 percent decline in the number of visits would save $478 million each year.

  • High blood pressure affects circulation — creating a higher risk for mental deterioration and Alzheimer's.

  • High blood pressure and its complications cost the U.S. economy more than $100 billion each year.

Know Your Numbers

Everyone needs to know their blood pressure numbers, as there are often no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure. That is why high blood pressure is called the silent killer.

Normal Blood Pressure

  • Systolic blood pressure, the top number in a blood pressure reading, is key to watch — especially in older Americans. Research shows that the effective treatment of high systolic blood pressure saves lives and greatly reduces illness.

  • Prehypertension (between 120/80 and/or 139/89 mmHg) presents more danger than earlier believed. The 59 million Americans with prehypertension are more likely to develop high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney failure.

Turning It Around

High blood pressure can be controlled. Better yet, it can be prevented. We have more knowledge about prevention and better treatment options than ever before. Simple and often modest lifestyle changes can help prevent and control high blood pressure, as well as improve overall health and quality of life.

  • If you're overweight, you gotta lose it.
    Maintaining a healthy weight is the first, best thing you can do to control hypertension. Yet for most people, it's also the hardest. If you're reading this article, it's likely you've taken an interest in your health as well as your weight. And hopefully, you've also come to understand the importance of a diet low in high glycemic carbohydrates and high in nutrients and fiber.

    An estimated 65 percent of U.S. adults aged 20–74 are either overweight or obese. Obesity increases the likelihood of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, both conditions that increase your chances of developing heart failure.

  • Eat Healthy / Drink Healthy
    Following an eating plan that emphasizes natural whole foods, plenty of vegetables, good sources of complete protein and high levels of fiber can prevent and control high blood pressure. Calories and fat matter too. Keep your calories at realistic levels and restrict trans fats as much as possible. If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation For men, that means a maximum of 2 drinks a day; for women, a maximum of 1.

  • Physical Activity
    Being physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent or control high blood pressure. It also helps reduce your risk of heart disease. More tips and resources to get started.

  • Quit Smoking
    Smoking injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. It increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, and several forms of cancer.

  • Control your blood sugar — Especially if you have diabetes.
    This is a good chance to repeat the importance of a diet low in high glycemic carbohydrates and high in nutrients and fiber — The best way to control blood glucose through diet.

  • Take medication as directed.
    If eating a healthy low carb/low glycemic diet is not enough to effectively lower your blood pressure and you need medication, make sure you understand what it's for and how and when to take it. Then take it as your doctor recommends.


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