Free-Reprint Article Written by: Edward Vorwerden See Terms of Reprint Below.
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Additional Article Information: =============================== 1027 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line Distribution Date and Time: Thu Mar 2 17:36:57 EST 2006 Written By: Edward Vorwerden Copyright: 2006 Contact Email: mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] Article URL: http://thePhantomWriters.com/free_content/d/v/hypertension-risks-and-advice.shtml For more free-reprint articles by this Author, please visit: http://thePhantomWriters.com/free_content/d/index.shtml#Edward_Vorwerden --------------------------------------------------------------------- Hypertension - The Greatest Risk To Your Health? Copyright © 2006 Edward Vorwerden RV Health http://www.rvhealth.com Conservative estimates indicate that there are over 600 million adults worldwide suffering from hypertension, the technical term for persistent high blood pressure. The continued growth has caused doctors to define an additional level of risk, prehypertension, as an indication of potential trouble. Experts believe that as many as 90% of us will develop a blood pressure problem during our lifetime, with 50% of us either dying from heart disease or a stroke - the usual outcome of hypertension. As it does most of its harm without the person knowing it, hypertension is often referred to as "The Stealth Killer." Yet it's true that a few painless moments in a pressure cuff can detect hypertension, and a few relatively simple lifestyle changes can treat it. So why has the problem grown to this extent? We are all continually bombarded with commercials, and magazine articles which reinforce the importance of living a healthy life. Yet most of us choose to ignore the message and indulge in all the "bad" things such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and high fat snacks. Could You Be At Risk? First lets take a look at your blood pressure reading and what it means. A blood pressure reading is represented by two numbers, 120/80 or 160/100 for example. The first number refers to the pressure against the blood vessel walls during a heartbeat, the systolic pressure. The second number is the pressure taken between heartbeats, the diastolic pressure. Here are the American Heart Association's recommended levels of blood pressure (units mm Hg):- * Normal: 120 or less / 80 or less * Prehypertension: 120-139 ( systolic) or 80-89 (diastolic) * Stage 1 Hypertension: 140-159 or 90-99 * Stage 2 Hypertension: 160 and above or 100 and above Unchangeable Risk Factors African Americans and those with a dark complexion (e.g., Bahamians and Native Americans) are at a much higher risk. While the reasons may not be clear, some believe that this is due to genetic or environmental factors. High blood pressure shows mercy to no-one. Men are more inclined than their female counterparts to suffer from hypertension before reaching the age of 55. Since women tend to be more health- aware, they take preventive measures to stave off hypertension, though they are still susceptible to the disease. Through the process of aging, the risk of having high blood pressure increases. Adults between the ages of 50 and 65 are more prone to suffer from hypertension. Bodily changes have a direct effect on the heart, blood vessels, and hormones. Combined with other risk factors, such changes increase your probability of developing hypertension. Family history can also be a pointer to your risk level. One in four of the adults that exhibit a family history of heart disease or hypertension face a 60% risk of developing hypertension. Genetics, environmental factors and your ability to receive proper health care are all critical in determining your risk of developing hypertension. Though your family history may reflect a propensity to develop the disease, this doesn't guarantee that you're destined to suffer from high blood pressure. It does indicate, however, that preventive measures should be taken in order reduce your risk of the disease. Changeable Risk Factors Awareness of your risk factor is the first step toward reducing your risk of hypertension. Obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, the consumption of high levels of alcohol and unhealthy eating habits are all critical factors in the determination of whether or not you're at risk for developing high blood pressure. A change in lifestyle has proven to impact your chances of avoiding the illness. Overweight individuals are vulnerable to hypertension in a number of ways. High fat diets are usually high in salt, which raises blood pressure. Carrying excess weight requires the heart to work harder, which forces the blood to flow even harder through the vessels. In addition a blood gas that relaxs the vessels is destroyed by the layer of fat located around the gut. Establishing healthy eating habits is the first step toward lowering your risk. The diet recommended by heart specialists is low in fat, low in salt and high in nutrients. Your intake of salty snacks, processed foods, and cured meats should be reduced. Replace these with more fruit and vegetables. Adopt better eating habits and that needle on the bathroom scales will lower, as well as the pressure monitor. Sodium can be a deadly enemy of the body. The most popular dietary source of sodium is ingested through the use of salt. Increasing your salt intake requires the body to hold more water. The body first stores this water in the bloodstream and then it deposits it in the tissues. Fluid retention causes stress on the heart and escalates the chances of developing high blood pressure. Potassium helps promote a healthy balance of the amount of sodium in cell fluids. Fruit - such as bananas - and vegetables are an excellent source of potassium. Physical activity, such as a short 20-minute walk or housecleaning event, can have a dramatic impact on your life. Any form of exercise assists your heart in the effort to pump blood throughout your body. Lack of exercise causes the heart to work harder, resulting in elevated blood pressure. Strive for at least 30 minutes of exercise three or four times per week. Can there be anything worse for hypertension than smoking tobacco? Smoking steps up the heart rate while hardening and constricting the blood vessels. This creates even higher pressure, which causes further damage to the heart and blood vessels. Alcohol consumption can be detrimental to your health in many ways. The occasional beer or glass of wine will not make a significant difference to your blood pressure, but indulgence can cause serious issues. The consumption of three or more alcoholic beverages each day nearly doubles your risk of developing high blood pressure. Wise Up For those in the high risk category, a change of lifestyle can decrease the chances of developing high blood pressure. The adoption of a healthier life style is a goal that everyone is capable of achieving. Instead of taking a gamble, choose to take intelligent steps toward lowering your risk of high blood pressure. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Author Edward Vorwerden suffered a stroke at the age of 37. Since his recovery he has put his efforts into helping others on health related issues through his website, <a href="http://www.rvhealth.com">RV Health</a>. For more help, advice and tips from Edward you can go to: http://www.rvhealth.com --- END ARTICLE --- ..................................... 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