Keep track of Blood Pressure Numbers-Take the Charge for Heart Health
Diabetes and heart disease a risky combination both tend to live in each other’s vicinity as suggested in many research studies.
Adults with diabetes are two to four times are more likely to die from heart disease compared to adults without diabetes. According to American Heart Association diabetes is one of the major risk factors for heart disease that is controllable or modifiable.
About 68% of people with diabetes over 65 years of age die of some form of heart disease and 16% from stroke from the same group.
There are proven ways to protect your heart such as consume a more plant-based diet, manage stress and nurture social contacts. Together, these can result in positive healthy changes in both the brain and the body.
Here, ‘together’ word is a ‘cohesive approach’ – just adding more fibers, guzzle ounces of water or add on more kilometer to your morning walk routine isn’t enough to forestall heart attack risk.
The crux of our cardiovascular health and cardiac rehabilitation program is two keystones for heart health. Blood pressure is the leading risk factor for heart disease; about 1 in 3 people suffer from high blood pressure that is unnoticed.
When its numbers are high it can be disheartening and stressful as it doubles the risk of suffering a stroke.
The reason behind high blood pressure being overlooked or unnoticed is its no warning sign or symptom unless one goes through a heart attack.
Because of this high blood pressure is also referred to as ‘silent killer’ but you can make it ‘sign-lent healer’ with your skill power.
Keep track of high blood pressure numbers:
The best way to know about high blood pressure is to get it checked. At doctor’s clinic if blood pressure numbers are high this could be due to stress, some drink or exercise before that day.
If already diagnosed with high blood pressure then one cannot be sure if the condition is worsening or under control, because you have reached clinic after crossing a heavy traffic have work pressure in your mind.
Firstly, buy a blood pressure machine having a cuff for the upper arm that inflates and gives the reading automatically. American Heart Association recommends not to go for finger or wrist blood pressure monitors as they are not reliable.
Secondly, for a proper blood pressure management suggests getting your blood pressure checked on your own at home. Once at home, begin with a check in the morning before taking blood pressure medications and then another reading in the evening daily for a week as guided. Keep a record of the reading.
Pros: Effective for people with white-collar hypertension and labile hypertension.
A word of advice: High blood pressure is a physical response to stress. Do not over stress when your blood pressure is high initially as blood pressure changes throughout the day.
Thirdly, measure blood pressure in both the arms, as it may reveal a higher risk of heart attack; with a difference of 10 points or more one can be at higher risk of heart attack by 38%. Consult your doctor for reference.
Fourthly, doctors primarily check for top number known as systolic pressure than lower number namely, diastolic pressure. Research suggests focusing on both the numbers although for people with 50 years or above systolic pressure is important to look for.
Reason: Systolic pressure is the pressure by heart on the arteries when blood comes out of the body. Whereas, diastolic pressure is the pressure in your blood vessels when heart at rest.The range for high blood pressure: 130/80 mmHg (AHA).
Manage high blood pressure with mindful eating without medications:
With a healthy diet plan, you can get rid of blood pressure pills. Foods high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium are a boon to heart’s health with an add-on (MUFA- olive oil and fish) it improve heart health. Avoid saturated fats such as butter and red meat.
Foods high in Potassium- Prunes, carrot, passion fruit, plain yogurt (low-fat), tomato, sweet potato, salmon etc.
How to include them – low intake of potassium results from low intake of vegetables, fruits, and dairy. Focus on food choices high in potassium content to add in your meals such as such as salad, soups, and stew. Replace white bread and rice with a bowl of oats, quinoa or brown rice for a healthy breakfast.
Foods high in Magnesium – whole grains, spinach, quinoa, black beans, avocado, almond, peanuts, and dairy products. Magnesium regulates nerve function and maintains a normal heartbeat.
How to include them- can use yogurt in salad dips, sauces or in place of mayonnaise in pasta and macaroni dishes. You can add almond, spinach in a quinoa salad with a squash of olive oil.
Food high in Calcium- Tofu, almond milk, cheese, buttermilk, bok choy, broccoli, calcium-fortified cereals. Calcium regulates normal blood pressure levels in the body and heart muscle function along with the intake of magnesium sources.
How to include them – Low calcium is due to inadequate intake of dairy. You can replace sugar syrup and cow milk with almond milk in desserts.
MUFA (Monounsaturated Fatty Acids)-
Olive oil- drizzles of olive oil over pasta or vegetables in place of butter or as a salad dressing or during sauté.
Fish- buy fresh, frozen, or canned fish high in omega 3 content such as salmon, sardines, herring etc.
A research done by Global Organisation for EPA and DHA (GOED) reported adequate intake of EPA and DHA may decrease cardiovascular health in people with high levels of triglycerides.
There is an association between EPA and DHA intake on heart health.
To optimize cardiovascular health about 1000 mg of through dietary supplements and fortified foods.
250mg of EPA and DHA per day, in general, is recommended. 83 % of GLOBAL POPULATION suffer from omega-3 deficiency in countries where EPA and DHA intake is minimal.