Health Watch -- Controlling Blood Pressure (Part 2)
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Changing your lifestyle may be one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure.
The number of Americans with high blood pressure has gone up by a third in the past decade. That means more people are at risk for heart disease, kidney failure, heart failure, stroke and other health problems associated with high blood pressure. There are medications for controlling blood pressure, but lifestyle changes can be very effective for preventing and lowering high blood pressure.
Diet - including lowering your sodium intake - is one of the most important ways to manage blood pressure. Dr. Scott Grundy, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, says you can lower your sodium intake by avoiding processed foods, canned soups and salty snack foods.
Researchers in Louisiana recently reported more evidence that a low-fat, low-sodium diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps lower blood pressure. They compared people eating a typical American diet with people eating the recommended diet for controlling blood pressure - with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry and low-fat dairy products. At different times during the study, people were given low, medium or high levels of salt.
People in both groups had lower blood pressure when they ate less salt, with the most improvement in blood pressure at the lowest salt level.
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