What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is another word for high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls. If it stays elevated over a period of time, that means that you have high blood pres- sure. So what constitutes ?elevated pressure?? Well, a blood pressure of 140/90 is considered high. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89, then you have prehypertension.
Why is Hypertension Dangerous?
High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes your heart work harder than it should. Hypertension also increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, dementia, and kidney disease. None of those are any fun, so take action to reduce your risk.
How?Can You Lower Blood Pressure?
According to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) sodium trial, the most important thing that you can do to lower your blood pressure is to eat a low-sodium, DASH-style diet. It is also important to exercise, maintain a healthful weight, and limit alcohol consumption. Incorporate good sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and fiber into your diet.
Meet the DASH Studies
The DASH studies were coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.There were 2 DASH studies in all, and their goals were as follows...
DASH ? First Study: This study set out to test dietary patterns to see which could be associated with lower blood pressure.
DASH-Sodium ? Second Study: This study followed the DASH diet and restricted sodium to 1500 mg per day. People with hypertension lowered their blood pressure as much or more than any medication had been able to lower it.
- The DASH diet lowered blood pressure in those with high blood pressure.
- Reductions came quickly -- within two weeks.
- The authors estimated that the DASH diet may help prevent and control high blood pressure and reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease by 15% and stroke by 27%.
- The DASH diet lowered blood pressure as much as a single high-blood-pressure drug, which was an average of 6 systolic over 3 diastolic (mmHg).
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.