High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a worldwide problem and the leading risk factor for death, according to Dr. Robert D. Brook, associate professor of medicine and cardiologist at the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center. With an estimated one billion people diagnosed with high blood pressure throughout the world, “it is truly a global problem, on par with tobacco use as a risk for dying.” But, he adds, “It is a controllable disease.” Read on for things you can do to control high blood pressure, including some natural remedies.
You can reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) — and the subsequent risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, vision loss, headache and heart failure — by doing the following:
- Reduce your sodium intake
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Limit alcohol intake
- Get regular physical activity
- Avoid tobacco use
One in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure, according to the World Health Organization. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, not to mention kidney disease, vision loss, headache and heart failure. The risk of developing these complications is higher in the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes.
Hypertension was no match for the DASH diet during a University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study in which patients with a certain type of heart failure were given heat-and-serve low-sodium (low-salt) meals for three weeks.
In just 21 days of following a low-sodium Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, patients with “diastolic” heart failure saw a drop in blood pressure similar to taking an anti-hypertension medicine. Some patients were able to cut back on their diuretics and anti-hypertensives.
Diastolic heart failure (a type of heart failure that occurs even though the heart’s muscle-pumping function is not weakened), happens when the heart becomes stiff and does not relax enough between beats. This condition makes up more than half of older adults with heart failure, but has no standard treatment. University of Michigan cardiologist Scott L. Hummel, M.D., M.S, wondered if, based on animal studies, diet could make a big difference for these patients.