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  May is National Blood Pressure Awareness Month
  • Natural Ways to Help Lower Blood Pressure
  • Questions and Answers about Monitoring Blood Pressure at Home
  • Eat Right for Better Oral Health
  • Dr. Oz Video: Know Your Five
  • Source4Women Webinar: Magic of the Mediterranean Lifestyle
  • Monthly Health Tip
  • Monthly Recipe
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Natural Ways to Help Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure strikes 1 in 3 adults. Learn the top lifestyle strategies that can make a real impact on lowering your blood pressure.

 

What is it?

One in three American adults has high blood pressure. Medication is often prescribed, but that’s not the only solution. There are many lifestyle strategies that have also been shown to have an impact. For some, weight loss combined with exercise and a healthy eating plan may even reduce or eliminate the need for medication altogether.

 

Your doctor can help you decide whether to take a combined approach of medication plus lifestyle, or whether to try following these healthy lifestyle strategies first:

 

1. Increase exercise. Aerobic exercise can lower blood pressure and also help with weight loss. And, it doesn’t take a time-consuming workout in a gym to reap the benefits.

  • As few as 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week has been shown to be effective.
  • Aerobic activities such as walking, biking, swimming and water aerobics often produce the best results.
  • Before you start an exercise program, ask your doctor what type and amount of exercise is right for you.

 

2. Cut your salt intake. Eating a diet high in sodium may raise your blood pressure and lead to heart disease and stroke. Experts now recommend limiting sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day. People 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease are advised to limit sodium to 1,500 mg.

  • Check labels of food and over-the-counter medication for their sodium content.
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods.
  • Avoid processed foods, such as canned and frozen ready-to-eat foods, cheeses and luncheon meats.

 

3. Eat a healthy diet. Follow DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) guidelines.
This has been shown to help lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

  • The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. It restricts intake of saturated fats, red meat and sugar.
  • The increased fiber, potassium, calcium and magnesium from these foods are all thought to play a role in reducing blood pressure. Potassium can be found in many fruits and vegetables, beans/legumes, nuts and dairy products.

 

4. Lose weight. Even a 10-pound weight loss can help reduce blood pressure or prevent high blood pressure in the majority of overweight people.

  • Keep a food journal to track exactly what and how much you eat.
  • Choose foods low in saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fats and refined sugar.
  • Watch your portion sizes.
  • Do not skip meals. Eating three meals a day plus snacks is essential in weight management.
  • Aim for 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily, which will fill you up and curb your hunger.

 

5. Limit alcohol. Drinking a lot of alcohol can raise your blood pressure.

  • If you drink, keep your alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day for women, two drinks for men.
  • A drink is the equivalent of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 2 ounces of hard liquor.

 

The key is to discover what works for you. Choose your strategies, take action and start enjoying the benefits. You can lower your blood pressure and help prevent other chronic diseases at the same time.

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home blood pressure

10 Questions (and Answers) About Monitoring Blood Pressure at Home

 

Here are some tips for checking your blood pressure at home.

1. Why might it be useful to monitor my blood pressure at home?
If your doctor has suggested you monitor your blood pressure at home, he or she likely wants to keep a close eye on it. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can cause serious damage to your body. It puts you at risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure - and that's just the short list. Controlling your blood pressure is important, and the only way to know whether it is high is to measure it.

 

2. Why not just check it when I'm at the doctor's office?

Convenience is one reason. It is easier for you to monitor it at home than it is for you to make frequent trips to your doctor's office. Another reason is that your blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day, every day. So a reading taken at a doctor's office may not be typical of your normal blood pressure. Also, a visit to the doctor's office may cause some people's blood pressure to rise - a condition called "white coat hypertension." Monitoring your blood pressure at home can give you a better idea of your status.

 

3. Are there some people for whom home monitoring may be especially useful?

Yes. The list includes:

  • People whose high blood pressure was recently diagnosed. By checking their blood pressure regularly at home, they can see how their treatment is working.
  • People with health conditions that require close monitoring of blood pressure, such as those who have diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease.
  • Pregnant women who may be at risk for a serious condition called preeclampsia, or hypertension caused by pregnancy. Older adults who may be more prone to white coat hypertension.

 

4. Where can I buy a home blood pressure monitor?
You can find them at discount drug stores and pharmacies, among other places.

 

5. How do I know what type is best for me?
Talk with your doctor before you buy a home blood pressure monitor. You also may want to ask a pharmacist to help you choose a model at the store.

 

6. Is there anything I should look for on the label?
Look for a monitor that is certified to meet international standards. If you are pregnant or overweight, you may want to buy one that is approved for your condition.

 

7. How can I be sure I am using my monitor correctly?
It is a good idea to take your new monitor to your doctor's office. Your doctor can check the machine for accuracy and show you how to use it correctly.


8. How can I help ensure accurate readings?
Don't smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise 30 minutes before you take a reading. These things can raise your blood pressure. And, always follow all the instructions that come with the unit.


9. How often should I check my blood pressure?

Talk with your doctor. Sometimes once a day or once a week is enough. Or your doctor may want several readings throughout the day to be sure your blood pressure is under control all day long.


10. Do I still need to go to my doctor's office?
Yes. Checking your blood pressure at home is not a substitute for regular doctor visits. Keep all of your appointments, especially if you are under treatment for high blood pressure, diabetes or heart or kidney disease. Even if your blood pressure readings are normal at home, it's still important to visit your doctor. Take a record of your blood pressure readings with you to each appointment.

 

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Source: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBlood Pressure/AboutHighBloodPressure/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp. LAST ACCESSED 3/11/11

 

 

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Eat right for better oral health

 

Good nutrition and oral health go hand in hand. That’s why many dentists are concerned about the amount of sugary snacks, sodas and juices their patients consume. Over time, these unhealthy choices can take a serious toll on teeth and gums, as well as on overall health.

 

How does the food we eat affect our teeth and gums?
If your diet lacks proper nutrients, it can reduce your resistance to infection. This may contribute to gum disease. With a well-balanced diet, on the other hand, your body will get the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Choose foods that give you plenty of the following nutrients:

 

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In brief:

  • For healthy teeth and gums, eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid sugary and sticky foods, which can lead to tooth decay
  • Drink plenty of water and little or no soda and fruit juice.

 

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Better Health with Dr. Oz: Know Your Five
How well do you know your own health? Start by knowing your five key numbers. View this video for more information!

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Source4Women Online Seminar

Magic of the Mediterranean Lifestyle: The Gold Standard for Heart Healthy, Longevity and Wellness
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
May 14, 12:30 p.m. ET, 11:30 a.m. CT

 

To register for an upcoming Source4Women online seminar, visit www.source4women.com and click on "Online Seminars & Events." All seminars are recorded and archived for viewing after the live seminar date.

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May Health Tip: Know your numbers.

Have your blood pressure checked regularly. Blood pressure kiosks are usually set up at your neighborhood pharmacy or make an appointment with your doctor. Even if your blood pressure is normal, you should continue to monitor it. Watch your diet and continue exercising to make sure it stays in a normal range.

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May Healthy Recipe: Minted Peas in Lettuce Cups

 

A light and simple side dish that takes only minutes to create.

Ingredients:
10 oz. frozen peas, defrosted
2 oz. unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
8 Boston lettuce leaves, washed

Directions:

Sauté onions in butter until caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Add peas, mint, sugar, salt and pepper and cook five minutes or until hot. Serve warm peas in lettuce cups.


Yield: 2 cups, 8 servings

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 89 - Fat: 6 g

Saturated Fat: 3.6 g - Cholesterol: 16 mg
Carbohydrate: 7.3 g - Protein: 2.2 g
Sodium: 99 mg - Dietary Fiber: 2 g

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