National Blood Pressure Month

May is National Blood Pressure Month—a topic that I feel should be addressed. According to the American Heart Association, 80 million adults have high blood pressure in the U.S. That is a ridiculously high number! Having high blood pressure should not be a “common” thing we eventually, inevitably get. It’s extremely risky and dangerous—it’s time to get it together people!

Having high blood pressure increases your chances of having overstretched and injured arterial walls, having a heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure, peripheral vascular disease, and reduces the supply of oxygen-rich blood to your tissues resulting in tissue and organ damage. Scary stuff!

With 80 million people diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s apparent that the typical American lifestyle of fast food, hot dogs, and fried chicken doesn’t favor health. It’s time to take back control of our health the good old-fashioned, preventative way, without the help of prescription meds that cause a novel of negative side effects.

Here are some promising lifestyle tips to help get your heath back and your blood pressure down:

Carrying around extra belly fat can contribute to high blood pressure, so it is important to maintain weight

**Men are at risk if their waist measurements are greater than 40 in.

**Women are at risk if their waist measurements are greater than 35 in.

Exercising regularly (30-60 min ~5 days/week) could lower your blood pressure 4 to 9 mm Hg!

* *Increasing physical activity can make a difference in blood pressure within a couple of weeks

Limit sodium intake

**Reducing sodium can decrease blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg

**Limit intake to 2,300 mg or less by reading food labels, reducing processed foods, not adding any salt to food, and eating out less

Reduce alcohol consumption

**More than one drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men can raise your blood pressure significantly

Avoid tobacco

**Nicotine can raise your blood pressure 10 mm Hg!

And of course, eat a healthy diet! 

**Having a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and healthy fats can decrease blood pressure by 14 mm Hg! Pretty impressive.


As you can see, blood pressure is not something to take lightly. The danger associated with high blood pressure is just not worth the risk, so be sure to stick to the tips above to lock in that healthy lifestyle.

What preventative steps do you make to keep your blood pressure healthy?

Tara Collingwood
Tara is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness, and health promotion and is quoted in a variety of media including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and websites.

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