1 in 5 Canadians have high blood pressure otherwise known as hypertension. This affects 4.6 million Canadians. Most people do not experience symptoms and this has led to the chronic illness being called the "Silent Killer." Over years, increased blood pressure quietly causes damage to our bodies, it can lead to heart attack, stroke, dementia, kidney disease and erectile dysfunction.
What can we do to prevent hypertension?
1. A well-balanced diet is vital to controlling a healthy blood pressure. The DASH Diet is recommended by Hypertension Canada. It describes a diet filled with vegetables and fruit, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean meats and fish, and nuts.
2. Low Sodium intake: Limit daily sodium to 1500-2300 mg each day. Processed or canned foods are often high in sodium.
3. Physical Activity: Physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and hypertension. It is recommended to get 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
4. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Consuming no more than 2 drinks per day can potentially drop your blood pressure.
5. Refrain from Smoking: The nicotine in cigarette smoke raises your blood pressure and heart rate, narrows your arteries and hardens their walls, and makes your blood more likely to clot.
Following a healthy, well balanced lifestyle can help us control our blood pressure and prevent complications from chronic disease.
Have your blood pressure monitored regularly.
Submitted by Kim King, Registered Nurse at Crescent Heights Medical Clinic
References and Resources: Hypertension.ca, Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, Stats Canada