The Path to Healthy Blood Pressure

The Path to Healthy Blood Pressure


Meet James. He just got his yearly checkup and he’s in pretty good health… Except, his blood pressure  
was elevated. About 128 over 82. Which means he’s at risk for
high blood pressure, also called hypertension. This was serious. High blood pressure can lead
to heart attack, stroke, or even heart disease. James was totally shocked. “I’m only 43,” he thought. “And I feel great.” But his doctor had 
good news, too. There are steps he could take
to get those numbers in control and even lower them. His healthy path started with getting his blood pressure
checked regularly. Next, one of the most
important steps he took was quitting smoking. Smoking increases blood pressure and the risk for heart attack
and stroke. And quitting could lower his
blood pressure very quickly. So after several tries and
with a combination of medication and coaching
through the help line, he was able to ditch the habit. James also worked on
cutting down on salt. He learned that
the problem wasn’t just adding salt to his food. High amounts of salt, or sodium, is hiding in foods like
cheese, deli meat, frozen meals, and canned
soup or vegetables. Now he double checks the
sodium on food labels. James and his provider
also talked about what to eat more of and less of. More fruits, vegetables,
whole grains, fish, lean poultry, and
low-fat dairy. and, less red meat. Too much alcohol can also
raise blood pressure, so James talked to his doctor about what was 
healthy for him. More exercise was also an
important step on his path. He didn’t want to
join a gym, so instead he added a 30-minute walk to
his routine – 5 days a week to strengthen his heart and
keep a healthy weight. Getting on this healthy path
hasn’t been easy, but it’s made a big difference
in his blood pressure. And helped lower his risk for
heart problems down the line. James now knows
it’s never too soon to think about his blood
pressure numbers. Learn more at
mass.gov/bloodpressure

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