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Six things that raise your blood pressure


Read about things that raise your blood pressure at www.heart.org/ bpraisers.

Read about things that raise your blood pressure at www.heart.org/bpraisers.

(NAPS)—Keeping blood pressure under control can mean adding things to your life, such as exercise, that help lower it. But you may not realize that it also means avoiding things that raise it.

If you or someone you care about is among the one in three U.S. adults—about 80 million people—with high blood pressure, you need to be aware of these six things that can raise blood pressure and thwart your efforts to keep it in a healthy range.

1. Salt. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends people aim to eat no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. That level is associated with lower blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. Because the average American’s sodium intake is so excessive, even cutting back to no more than 2,400 mg a day can improve blood pressure and heart health.

2. Decongestants. People with high blood pressure should be aware that the use of decongestants may raise blood pressure. Many over-the-counter (OTC) cold and flu preparations contain decongestants. Always read the labels on all OTC medications. Look for warnings to those with high blood pressure and to those who take blood pressure medications.

3. Alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. Your doctor may advise you to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. If cutting back on alcohol is hard for you to do on your own, ask your health care provider about getting help. The AHA recommends that if you drink, limit it to no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women.

4. Hot Tubs & Saunas. People with high blood pressure should not move back and forth between cold water and hot tubs or saunas. This could cause an increase in blood pressure.

5. Weight Gain. Maintaining a healthy weight has many health benefits. People who are slowly gaining weight can either gradually increase the level of physical activity (toward the equivalent of 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity) or reduce caloric intake, or both, until their weight is stable. If you are overweight, losing as little as five to 10 pounds may help lower your blood pressure.

6. Sitting. New research shows that just a few minutes of light activity for people who sit most of the day can lower blood pressure in those with type 2 diabetes. Taking three-minute walk breaks during an eight-hour day was linked to a 10-point drop in systolic blood pressure.

For more information about blood pressure management, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org/hbp. Bayer’s Consumer Health Division, maker of Coricidin® HBP, is a sponsor of the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure website.

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Health story of the year: Salt vindicated


(ARA) – Paul T. Meagher sometimes gets disapproving stares when people see him sprinkle his food with salt as he has done since he was a young lad growing up in Ireland. He has a response for such people.
“I tell them you can take my blood pressure right now, or we can have a run around the block, and I guarantee you I’m in better shape than you,” said Meagher, 68, who now lives in Westport, Mass. “I’m fit, at least for my age, and I use salt every day in volume. Hasn’t done me a blind bit of harm, which is the way we put it from where I come from.”
Recent research quantifies Meagher’s experience. In 2011, half a dozen medical studies showed the health benefits of salt or revealed the significant risks of low-sodium diets — providing vindication for this essential nutrient and the people, like Meagher, who love it.
“The vindication of salt is probably the biggest health and nutrition story of the last year,” says Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute. “Everyone knows salt tastes good, but the latest research published in leading medical journals confirms that salt is good for you, too. The medical studies underline what we have been saying for years: science is on salt’s side.”
The new data raises questions about the federal government’s effort to put Americans on a low-salt diet. The Food and Drug Administration is inviting online public comments about ways to reduce sodium consumption. In the past, such invitations have foreshadowed the rollout of new regulations.
The six peer-reviewed medical studies documented:
Type 1 Diabetes risk: In a study of patients with type 1 diabetes, low sodium intake was associated with renal disease and premature death.
Type 2 Diabetes risk: In an Australian study of type 2 diabetes patients, lower sodium was associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
No benefit to salt reduction: A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension showed eating less salt will not prevent heart attacks, strokes or early death. On the contrary, low-sodium diets increase the likelihood of premature death.
Risk of death: A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that lower salt intakes resulted in higher death rates.
Other negative effects of low-salt intakes: An analysis published in the American Journal of Hypertension showed individuals placed on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines-recommended salt levels experienced significant increases in cholesterol and other risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Risk with current U.S. Dietary Guidelines: An analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people who ate salt at the levels recommended by the U.S. government were at greater risk of cardiovascular events.
The research has prompted new scrutiny of the government’s attempts to put all Americans on a low-salt diet. Scientific American reviewed medical studies over several decades and concluded in a headline: “It’s time to end the war on salt.” The respected magazine also said, “The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science.”
Meagher remembers when the federal government told him eggs could be bad for his health. He ignored that advice, too.
“I would rather the federal government stay well away from my kitchen altogether,” Meagher says. “I will continue to eat my boiled eggs from an egg cup, with an egg spoon, and with plenty of salt.”

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