Health Department Notes
Moving to prevent and control high blood pressure May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month – a good time to check out what your blood pressure numbers are, what they mean, and what you need to do to prevent or control this all too common condition. High blood pressure currently affects one in every four American adults. And, although it has no signs or symptoms, uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke and kidney disease - the first, third, and ninth leading causes of death in the U.S. The good news, though, is that high blood pressure can be prevented. And, it can be controlled. You can prevent or control high blood pressure by maintaining a healthy weight, following a healthy eating plan, eating less salt and sodium, limiting your alcohol consumption, and being physically active. Let’s talk about physical activity. It is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or control high blood pressure. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week will help. You can even divide the 30 minutes into shorter periods of at least 15 minutes each. Plus, you don’t have to go to a gym to get those 30 minutes. You can work them into your everyday activities. For example, take stairs instead of an elevator or escalator when it’s practical. Park your car a little farther from where you’re going than usual. Here are some activities that will provide you with moderate exercise: • Brisk walking (at three to four miles an hour) • Cleaning house • Mowing the lawn or raking leaves • Bicycling (at a moderate speed of 10 miles per hour or less) • Dancing Most people don’t need to see a doctor before they start a moderate-level activity, but if you have heart trouble or have had a heart attack, you are older and are not used to doing a moderate-level activity, you have a family history of heart disease at an early age, or if you have any other serious health problem, check it out with your doctor first.