Can I prevent high blood pressure?
Mariel Morales is a registered dietitian on staff at Banner Estrella Medical Center.
Question: Since high blood pressure runs in my family, how can I reduce my risks?
Answer: High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the leading causes of stroke, heart disease and kidney failure in the United States, according to figures from the American Heart Association.
If you have already been told you have hypertension, or your numbers from the American Heart Association Risk Assessment Tool show you to be at risk for hypertension, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease or even heart failure.
The results of a large study, called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), include daily recommendations such as:
- Eat at least 2 to 3 servings of low-fat dairy products
- Eat 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables
- Stop smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
- Lose weight if overweight
- Increase physical activity; do at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week.
- Maintain adequate calcium, magnesium, and potassium intakes
- Try to cut down on the amount of fat you eat
- Limit sodium to no more than 2,400 milligrams a day
Some of these things are harder than others but there are many programs that can get you on the right track.