• Tangye Beckham

Chronic Disease: Hypertension

Updated: Mar 8

This week’s blog topic is Hypertension. According to the AHA, nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure. The scary thing is that many don’t even know they have it. The guidelines for diagnosing hypertension have changed. See below

Your blood pressure numbers and what they mean. Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers.

Systolic blood pressure (the first number) indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when you heart beats.

Diastolic blood pressure (the second number) indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.

When a person receives a diagnosis of hypertension, they are advised to follow a low sodium diet or heart healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults, especially for those with high blood pressure. Even cutting back by 1,000 mg a day can improve blood pressure and heart health.

When I visit with an older adult client who has a diagnosis of hypertension, we discuss the recommendations set forth by their physician. One of the questions is: Are you following a low sodium diet? If the answer is no, that’s something for us to work on. If the answer is yes, then I ask what that means to them. I am usually escorted to the kitchen and the client shows me what they are eating. Canned soup is always one of the items.

Please note just because a product says that its healthy doesn’t necessarily mean that it is.

Here are some tips. 1. Salt is used as a preservative. Preservatives are used to keep food from decaying or rotting. Foods that are packaged as either frozen or canned typically have a high sodium content as salt is the chosen preservative. 2. If you find it difficult to give up salt completely, you could measure 1 teaspoon of salt and place it in a saltshaker. According to cardiologists that would be your allotment for the week.

When dealing with a new diagnosis, education is key. “When you know better you do better” Maya Angelou

Be well!!


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