Become blood pressure aware

Not sure what your blood pressure count is? Ask at Elevate for a quick, free blood pressure reading!

High blood pressure (hypertension) is responsible for more trips to the doctor – and medical prescriptions – than any other condition, reports Elevate dietitian, Robbie Clark.

Latest figures indicate that hypertension affects 30% of Australian adults aged 25 and over, with more than half of these cases going untreated.

Often called the ‘silent killer’, the consequences of high blood pressure are serious in that it is a precursor to many health conditions, including coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure/heart attack, as well as kidney disease. Heart disease is currently our leading cause of death and disability in Australia.

It is important to know your blood pressure and to be aware if it’s too high. The following figures can give you a guide to blood pressure readings:

Category Systolic Diastolic
Ideal Less than 120 Less than 80
Above normal 120 – 139 80 – 89
High Above 140 Above 90
Very high Above 180 Above 110

TEN STEPS TO CONTROL HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

1. Have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you’re unsure of your blood pressure, ask for a quick, free blood pressure check at ELEVATE while you’re waiting.
2. Increase your fruit and vegie intake – Healthy blood pressure requires us to maintain the right balance of minerals. This means less sodium, more calcium and magnesium and importantly, more potassium.
3. Limit your salt intake
4. Manage your stress and anxiety
5. Maintain a healthy body weight
6. Reduce caffeine intake – regularly caffeine consumption can elevate blood pressure. The National Heart Foundation recommends no more than one or two cups of coffee, tea or cola per day.
7. Don’t smoke
8. Limit alcohol consumption –Men with high blood pressure should drink no more than two standard drinks per day, and women one standard drink per day
9. Exercise regularly – Just 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise – like walking, cycling, swimming, dancing or gardening – helps lower your blood pressure.
10. Boost your Omega-3 intake – Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and help to relax the walls of blood vessels so they can expand as blood rushes through, thus helping the flow of blood around the body. You’ll find your omega-3 fats in canola oils, walnuts and flaxseeds, and in oily fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, anchovies and mackerel.

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