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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Preventing Strokes -- lowering your blood pressure

High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for stroke. It increases your risk for hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke and for ischemic (blockage) stroke. It damages arteries throughout the body....

Over time, it can create weak places that rupture easily, or thin spots that balloon out from the artery wall. It can make the arteries stiffer, and less able to move blood well. It can accelerate the build-up of fatty plaques, causing narrowing of the arteries. This is why it is important to maintain a healthy blood pressure, day after day after day.

In the short term, sudden spikes in blood pressure can cause problems, too, especially when stroke risk factors are high.
  • When blood vessels are already weakened, high blood pressure can cause them to bleed
  • If you have unstable plaques on your artery walls, high blood pressure can dislodge them, and the particles can block a narrow place in a blood vessel
This is why it is a good idea to maintain healthy habits every day.

The good news is that high blood pressure can be controlled through diet and exercise, and with the help of blood pressure medications.

A plan for lowering blood pressure would include:
  • Becoming more Active
  • Getting enough Vitamin D from diet and, especially, from sunlight. Just 10 minutes of direct sun a day could be enough.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight through diet and exercise
  • Reducing salt in your diet, by reducing processed and canned foods, and choosing lower-salt versions of foods like tomatoes and beans
  • Getting more Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium in your diet, by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lowfat and nonfat dairy products, and beans, seeds, nuts, halibut, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, watermelon, and leafy green vegetables
  • Manage stress.
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