The Kidney & Hypertension Group

The Kidney & Hypertension Group
Our newest office located in Delray Beach, Florida just off I-95

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Help love last longer by focusing on what's good and bad for your blood pressure

You can't have a healthy heart without healthy blood pressure, so see your doctor or health-care professional for a reading. An accurate diagnosis is crucial because high blood pressure often has no symptoms until it's pinpointed as an underlying cause of a heart attack, stroke or congestive heart failure, reports the American Heart Association.
"Blood pressure is the resistance against which your heart muscle has to pump, so when it's too high, the walls of the heart thicken. It stresses arteries, kidneys, the whole body," says Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan, a cardiologist at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and cochair of the heart association's Go Red for Women campaign to raise awareness of heart health.
One of every three American adults has high blood pressure. If your reading is above the recommended 120/80, the heart association suggests looking at lifestyle changes to help lower it.
"Typically the first route is lifestyle management, and then if that doesn't work, go to medication," says Christine Eagle, a registered dietician and clinical nutrition manager at Beaumont.
Here are more tips for maintaining healthy blood pressure:
• Add chocolate. Could there be a more enjoyable recommendation, especially this weekend? But don't rejoice just yet. A 2007 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association says you only need 30 calories worth a day -- and the chocolate should be dark (70% cocoa), which isn't as sweet as the regular kind. So, think one dark chocolate Hershey's Kiss and you've hit your daily target.
• Watch your weight. Carrying around extra pounds count against you when it comes to blood pressure, so focus on taking them off, Eagle says. If you're unsure about your recommended weight, look up your body mass index on the Web site for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi. The site has a BMI calculator that will give you a healthy weight range for your height.

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