@kwellscomm To Your Health!
The month of May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month and two doctors, one representing the American Heart Association (AHA) and the other, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) joined me on “Access Indy with Kim Wells” to discuss the domino effect that high blood pressure (HBP) plays in your overall health picture. It is a risk factor for stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease.
An estimated 80 million adults–which is roughly one-third of the U.S. adult population–have HBP. Most people with high blood pressure do not have any symptoms and can have it for years without knowing it.
Dr. Willie Lawrence of the AHA (and is chief of cardiology at Research Medical Center, and founder and director of the Center’s Congestive Heart Failure program as well as director of the hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation program) and Dr. George Bakris, a member of the NKF’s board of directors (and is Professor of Medicine and Director of the American Society of Hypertension’s Comprehensive Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago Medicine). Lawrence and Bakris both said on the show that the dangers of high blood pressure are real and they made it particularly relevant to African-Americans who often disproportionately suffer from the disease and its downward spiraling effects.
They shared some facts:
- Nearly half of those with hypertension don’t have it controlled to a healthy level.
- Hypertension is a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
- Compared with other dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors, HBP is the leading cause of death in women and the second-leading cause of death in men, behind smoking.
- 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease. Major risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney failure (especially in the parents), African-Americans, and being age 60 or older (particularly in those who are obese).
- Kidney disease often has no symptoms, and it can go undetected until very advanced and sufferers often end up on dialysis as an on-going treatment to save their lives.
They offered some tips to lower blood pressure and improve overall health and quality of life:
- Get screened for blood pressure.
- Get properly trained to monitor the blood pressure proactively and track it regularly at home with a blood pressure monitor that can be purchased from a retailer or big box store.
- Lower salt intake in the diet (no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily)…yes, train yourself to eat less salt.
- Avoid processed and canned foods.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Be active…exercise. (The Indianapolis Kidney Walk is coming up June 11, learn more HERE.)
- Stop smoking. (Don’t start smoking.)
- Reduce or stop the consumption of meat.
For more info on Kidney health, click HERE.
For more info on Heart health and HBP prevention, click HERE.
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