New Heart Health Guidelines

On 11/13/17 the American Heart Association released new guidelines regarding an elevated/at risk blood pressure. Those with blood pressure (BP) readings of 130 as the top number and 80 and the bottom are now considered as at risk. BP was previously defined as 140/90 since 1993. This new guideline change means that almost 46% of adults in the U.S. are considered at risk. Within ethnic groups such as African Americans, the risk percentage jumps to up to 59% African-American men and 56% African American women.

What can you do about this now that you have a higher risk profile? Do you run to your doctor and get a higher dosing of Bumex or Lasix? Before you make that call, let us review the risk factors that cause high BP, some of which you may/may not have control over:

  • Age. About 65 percent of people 60 and older have high blood pressure.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Drinking too much alcohol – more than 1>drink daily for women, more than 2> for men.
  • Family history of high blood pressure.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Eating a high-salt diet.
  • Race. Black Americans are more likely than Caucasians and Hispanic Americans to develop high blood pressure.
  • Smoking.

Analyze your lifestyle and evaluate whether you can make adjustments. Is that daily happy hour drink really worthwhile? Must you eat out at Red Lobster or the Cheesecake Factory daily for lunch or can you bring in a brown bag? Every day I try to teach my clients simple modifications they can do to improve their health and overall wellbeing.

Here are some heart-healthy exercise ideas that you can do right now that do not require fancy equipment or a trip to the gym:

  • 30 minutes of daily walking – it will never go out of vogue.
  • Jumping jacks or Jump Rope- 30 seconds up to 1 minute
  • Push Ups- not just for building up arm strength, an overall great workout for back, abs and cardio endurance. Try 15 or so on your knees at first and build up to military style.
  • Punching – Channel your inner Rocky Balboa and try punching for up to 5 minutes at a time.

Fitness should never be hard or difficult; just a little bit of daily exercise can make a world of difference.

 

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