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Reducing Blood Pressure

By Christopher Guerriero
Weight Loss and Energy Expert
Updated: June 15, 2008
Despite Advances in drug treatment, hypertension (high blood pressure) continues to be a major health problem for Americans and people in other industrialized countries. More than 25% of all people in the U.S. who are over 30 have high blood pressure and more than half of the total U.S. population 60 years old have hypertension. This disorder has reached epidemic rates for men and women of all ethnic groups.

Recent research underscores the importance of a healthful lifestyle including a fitness regimen for both the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Often, changes in diet and exercise habits are enough to control blood pressure without medication, especially for

people with mild to moderate blood pressure elevations. Sometimes diet and exercise can even reduce the need for medication, and thereby reduce side effects and lower costs.

If you are already taking medication for hypertension, it's important to discuss your lifestyle changes with your doctor, and continue taking your medication as prescribed. If lifestyle changes result in improved blood pressure, your doctor will want to work

closely with you to reduce your dosage in a safe and effective manner. Following are some of the most important things you can do to prevent and control hypertension.

Reducing your sodium intake is a major factor. Many people with hypertension find that reducing sodium intake reduces blood pressure as well. Learn which foods are high in sodium, and avoid them as much as possible.
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Regular exercise is the most important hypertension-prevention habit for three reasons:

First, it helps prevent and control hypertension. Formerly sedentary people who begin exercising regularly experience, on average, a drop of six or seven points in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Second, active people have lower death rates than their sedentary friends, even when they have the same blood pressure. Research has shown that exercise reduces risk for cardiovascular and other disease. Exercise also helps prevent obesity, another hypertension risk factor.

Third, regular exercise provides the foundation for successful behavior change programs. Exercise makes you feel good and feel positive about yourself. Stress reduction is one of the greatest benefits of exercise. Stress not only raises blood pressure, but it makes you less inclined to stick to your positive eating plan, your smoking cessation program or your decision to cut down on your alcohol intake.

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