Healthy Heart: Happy World Health Day

Happy early World Health Day! Tomorrow marks the World Health Organization’s 65th birthday and they are celebrating by focusing high blood pressure and the reduction of heart attacks and strokes.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can increase the risk of many health complications such as heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. Left untreated or uncontrolled, it can also lead to blindness, irregularities of the heartbeat, and heart failure.

We all likely know someone close to us who has been negatively impacted by high blood pressure. In fact, about 33% of adults worldwide have hypertension. The good news is that there are many things we can do to treat and prevent high blood pressure. Along with maintaining a healthy weight, also consider:

1. Being more physically active

Being physically active will help you maintain a healthy weight and make your body stronger. Try to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Avoid making up for weekday inactivity with an intense weekend exercise as sudden bursts of activity can be risky. Daily brisk walks are a great way to get in some exercise and can be enjoyed by people of all fitness levels.

2. Reducing sodium intake

The easiest way to minimize the amount of sodium consumed is to prepare all meals at home. However, making everything from scratch is not always feasible for everyone. When buying convenience foods, always read the label and be aware of the ingredients. When you’re buying canned vegetables, look for ones that do not have any added salt. Cut back on “instant” food, such as packaged noodles, mixes, frozen dinners, and soups, as these often have lots of sodium. When preparing food at home, use herbs, garlic, or onions instead of salt to flavor your food.

3. Drinking alcohol in moderation

Too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and can also harm your liver, brain, and heart. Alcohol should only be consumed in moderation – that means at most one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men, with each drink being approximately 100 calories each.

Let us know how you will be celebrating World Health Day!

Photo from http://www.asu.edi

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