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Control Hypertension Disease

Posted by on Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 13:44
This news item was posted in Blood Pressure category and has 0 Comments so far.

It seems the time has come to add “SALT” to our list of four letter words. But isn’t it true (you might debate) SALT (also known as sodium chloride) is being cross examined only because of its association with the mineral sodium? And shouldn’t it really be SODIUM on trial ?

Well, hear me out. One third of the average American’s sodium intake comes direct from the SALT he or she dutifully adds at the table or when cooking. And the average American’s sodium intake totals around 5,000 mg per day.

So, if this average American took the salt shaker off the table or better yet, stuck it way behind the baking powder in some hard to reach cupboard couldn’t we expect to drop to the 1,000 to 3,000 mg per day limits recommended by the American Heart Association and the National Academy of Sciences? The prosecution rests.

Why all this fuss over salt and sodium? In a word, HYPERTENSION . Right at this moment, one of every four Americans have it 60 million people. About 95 percent of them are stuck with it for the rest of their lives because the cause is unknown. That’s obviously the BAD news. The good news is there ARE several ways to help CONTROL HYPERTENSION.

Hypertension is a fancy name for high blood pressure disease. It’s a major risk factor for the number one American killer, Heart Disease. It also is an underlying cause of America’s number three cause of death, Stroke.

It often develops when we reach age 30 or 40 without any symptoms. And it’s difficult to predict who will be that one person in four to get it! More bad news. But I can tell you right now, if your parents have it or had it, there’s a good chance you will too! Here are a few more facts about hypertension.

•    The incidence of severely high blood pressure disease is three times higher for blacks than for whites.
•    The older you get the higher your risk. (By age 74, half the U.S. population has hypertension.)
•    If you’re considered “obese”, your risk is increased.
•    If you’re over 35, use oral contraceptives, and smoke, your risk is increased.
•    If you have diabetes or kidney disease, your risk is high.

But no matter what, getting your blood pressure checked is the key. More than one third of the 60 million people with hypertension don’t even know they have it. And it’s the high blood pressure that goes untreated that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

If your blood pressure was normal the last time it was checked, be sure to get it rechecked every couple of years. And bring your kids with you. The National Heart Lung Blood Institute says, “High blood pressure in children represents a significant clinical problem.”

High blood pressure treatment, other than medications, usually includes weight reduction if you’re obese, limiting salt and sodium in your diet, controlling heavy drinking, and exercising. All of these are things we all should be doing for other reasons!

Some minerals, new on the hypertension scene, may help in the treatment of hypertension disease :

•    Magnesium: Recent population studies suggest eating magnesium packed foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low fat dairy items, to ensure an adequate intake of magnesium.

•    Potassium: The diet high in potassium may provide some protection in the arteries of people with high blood pressure. It may also lower blood pressure a little and protect the kidneys from related damage.Potassium is the mineral that made bananas the famous fruit it is. But potatoes, apricots, orange and grapefruit juice, and just about any kind of fruit and vegetable not cooked in water will add potassium to our diet. People with a history of kidney failure should check with their doctors before increasing their intake of these items.

•    Calcium: Just when you thought it was safe to avoid dairy products, evidence turns up linking decreases in systolic blood pressure and higher intakes of calcium or calcium supplements. It seems to work best for people with previous intake of calcium well below the RDA who have high systolic blood pressure readings. (Systolic is the top number in the blood pressure reading.)

A small number of people with hypertension may even have a rise in blood pressure with calcium supplements. And, of course, we’re not able to detect who these people are beforehand. At this point, though, experts only recommend we take in the RDA for calcium (800 mg. per day, 1200 mg. per day for ages 11-24 and pregnant women). Very little evidence supports a need for more than this amount.

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