Many individuals don't consider themselves to be candidates for high
blood pressure, or know what to look for in terms of risk factors,
which is why the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
has identified the seven top factors, listed below, that contribute to
high blood pressure.
-- Family History -- You share your dad's hair color and your mom's height
but did you know that's not all you share in regards to your genetics?
If your parents or a close blood relative have suffered from high blood
pressure in the past, it puts you at risk as well. Do your research and
get to know your family tree and your loved ones medical history.
-- Advanced Age - As we get older, we shouldn't be too concerned with the
wrinkles we're showing. We all develop a risk for high blood pressure
and cardiovascular diseases. Blood vessels lose flexibility during the
aging process which contributes to increasing pressure in your
-- Gender Related Risk Patterns -- Who would have known? Men tend to have
a higher percentage of high blood pressure than women until age 45.
Between ages 45 to 50 and 55 to 64, the percentages between men and
women with high blood pressure are similar. After age 64, women have a
much higher percentage of high blood pressure than men.
-- Lack of Physical Activity -- It's time to stop making excuses and get
out and get moving. An inactive lifestyle increases your chances of
having high blood pressure. Give yourself the gift of improved health
and lower your blood pressure naturally with regular exercise.
-- Poor Diet -- Let's face it, we all need good nutrition to care for our
bodies. A diet that's high in calories, fats and sugars and low in
essential nutrients contributes to poor health. In addition, a diet
that's high in salt is also a contributing factor to having high blood
pressure. Salt keeps excess fluid in the body that can add to the
burden on the heart. The American Heart Association/American Stroke
Association recommends that you keep your sodium intake to less than
1500 mg per day.
-- Weight - Don't have a fear of the scale -- embrace it. Knowing your
ideal weight for your height could help save your life and lower your
risk for high blood pressure. Over two-thirds of American adults are
overweight which causes excess strain on the heart, raises blood
cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol levels. Just by losing as little
as 10 to 20 pounds if you are overweight, can help you take control and
lower your high blood pressure.
-- Drinking too much alcohol -- Yes, you've had a stressful day, but is
that extra glass of wine worth it? Heavy and regular use of alcohol can
increase your blood pressure dramatically. It can also cause heart
failure, lead to stroke and produce irregular heartbeats. If you drink,
limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men
and one drink per day for women.
Take time for yourself and schedule an appointment with your physician
to discuss your possible risk factors and what you can do to curb high
blood pressure and reduce heart disease and stroke risks. The American
Heart Association/American Stroke Association also offers complimentary
tools and resources to help you live a heart-healthy life.
-- You can stop heart disease before it's even started. In just a few
minutes, with the American Heart Association/American Stroke
Association's My Life Check, you can learn about the state of your heart
health and what you can do to live a better life. Visit
heart.org/mylifecheck and take the assessment today.
-- To learn to monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis, and share
that information with a healthcare provider or family member, visit
Heart360.org. Further resources on high blood pressure can be found at
-- In addition to the tools listed above, take a minute and explore the new
Watch, Learn, and Live -- Interactive Cardiovascular Library. This new
library contains informative illustrations and animations about a
variety of conditions, treatments and procedures related to heart
disease and stroke, including high blood pressure. Visit
http://watchlearnlive.heart.org for more information.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart
disease and stroke--America's No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with
millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger
public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to
prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the
nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to
fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call
1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit
The American Heart Association logo is available at
About the American Stroke Association
The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke
-- America's No. 4 killer and a leading cause of serious disability. We
team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for
stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and
information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association
was created in 1997 as a division of the American Heart Association. To
learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit
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