Diets for High Blood Pressure and Your Heart

Carolyn Classick-Kohn,MS,RD

Are you following a heart healthy diet already?
Simply reducing calories, eating less fat, or cutting down on salt is not enough! Getting the right balance of other key nutrients in your diet can make a real difference. Your
PersonalDiets™ diet plan will give you the right balance of important nutrients for controlling blood pressure and for losing weight (if needed) so that you get the healthy results you need. We consider your individual health factors and make it part of your plan.

The First 15 - Good News
Being overweight is a definite risk for high blood pressure, but the good news is that losing the first 10-15 pounds has the greatest effect upon risk factors like high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high blood cholesterol.
When you follow a PersonalDiets™ diet plan, you'll be increasing potassium and calcium and reducing sodium while you reach your weight goal. When you reduce calories, important minerals that play a role in controlling blood pressure are reduced as well, so we emphasize foods that contain these important nutrients and make recommendations for getting the right amounts of these key foods that play a role in keeping blood pressure within healthy limits. 

Is your blood pressure greater than 120/80? 
There are some important New Guidelines for high blood pressure. In May 2003, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institutes issued new guidelines for managing and treating high blood pressure (hypertension). This expert panel targets those with blood pressure in the  "prehypertension" range because new evidence shows that risk of cardiovascular disease begins at lower levels of blood pressure than was once thought. Now, those with blood pressure greater than 120/80 (either number above this level) and below 140/90 are considered prehypertensive and are encouraged to make major lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

  1. If you are overweight lose weight; learn how to keep it off and gain some insight by reading this: lose weight diet

  2. Eat a diet rich in potassium, calcium & lower in sodium (ex. PersonalDiets)

  3. Maintain regular physical activity (realistic activity programs like our Moving More™ can help)

  4. Drinking alcohol in moderation (2 or less drinks per day)

A Vital Force
Blood Pressure is the natural force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries.  It is expressed by two numbers and measured in millimeters of mercury( mm/Hg) i.e. 120/80 mm/Hg.  The top number (systolic blood pressure, SBP) represents the force of the blood when the heart pumps it; the bottom number (diastolic blood pressure, DBP)  is the residual force of the blood  when the heart is at rest.  Blood pressure varies throughout the day.  High blood pressure, or hypertension , occurs when it remains at or above 140/90.  There are usually no clear symptoms associated with high blood pressure.  It, too, is a silent risk factor for heart disease.  It is very easy to detect with a special cuff.

An optimal blood pressure has been identified as a systolic of less than 120 (in mm Hg) and diastolic less then 80 (in mm Hg), typically written as 120/80. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is identified as a systolic of  140 or greater OR  a diastolic of 90 or greater. 


Don't wait until it's too late! 

Start Dieting

Large NumbersCurb your risk for heart disease & stroke - start a healthier diet today!
One out of 4 Americans, about 50-60 million, have high blood pressure. African Americans and the elderly have proportionately higher blood pressure than whites and the young.  About half the population in the U.S. has hypertension by age 74.  For a small percentage of those, high blood pressure is due to kidney problems or narrowing of the aorta, the main artery leading away from the heart, or to tumors of the adrenal glands.  For 95% of people with high blood pressure the causes of hypertension are not known: it is called primary or "essential" hypertension.

Increased Risks - High blood pressure is one of the major risk factors for heart disease & stroke.

  • Women aged 45-74 with a DBP of 100 have 2 times the risk of stroke as women with DBP of 70-79.

  • High Blood pressure can lead to kidney disease or kidney failure.

  • Parents with high blood pressure should make sure that your children limit their salt intake, exercise and control their weight.  These measures will decrease their chances of developing hypertension.

  • Is your blood pressure out of control?

  • Learn about your health risks with our Free Personal Diet Profile!

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