Key Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure Risk

Sixty-seven million US adults, or one in three, suffer from high blood pressure, which makes the heart work hard and increases a person's heart disease and stroke risk. May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month and the perfect time to start thinking about ways you can reduce your high blood pressure.

1. Know if You're High Risk

Everyone's at risk for developing high blood pressure, but certain factors increase your risk.

*Men under 64

*Woman over 65

*Family history of high blood pressure

*African Americans

*Previously diagnosed diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure

Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be as you seek to stay healthy.

2. Reduce Sodium Intake

Sodium is a major cause in high blood pressure. Most Americans consumer twice as much sodium as recommended, which is 2,300 mg for healthy adults and 1,500 mg for high-risk adults. Reduce your sodium intake when you cut high-sodium processed foods and flavor foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.

3. Eat More Potassium

Potassium combats sodium as you fight high blood pressure. Find it in foods like green leafy vegetables, fish, citrus fruits, bananas and potatoes.

4. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Achieving a healthy weight can reduce your high blood pressure risk. Try adding 30 minutes of moderate exercise to your daily routine and eat a balanced diet as you reach your ideal weight. Ask your doctor for additional guidance.

5. Cut Smoking and Alcohol

Because smoking increases your high blood pressure risk, ask your doctor or health insurance agent about smoking cessation tips and classes. Also, drink no more than two alcoholic beverages a day if you're a man and one if you're a woman.

6. Take Prescribed Medications

If your doctor prescribes medication, take it regularly. A timer or daily routine will help you remember.

No single action erases your high blood pressure risk. However, take these steps as you do your part in staying as healthy as possible. For additional tips, talk to your doctor and health insurance agent during High Blood Pressure Awareness month.

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