Take a long, deep breath… and lower your blood pressure

If Anderson’s theory is right, it would offer another explanation for why hypertension is what he calls “a disease of civilization and a sedentary lifestyle.”

Meanwhile, health authorities recommend lowering blood pressure by making changes in your lifestyle including:

• Eat healthy foods (low in fat and salt)
• Quit smoking
• Keep a healthy body weight
• Get regular exercise
• Cut down on alcohol

Risk factors for “primary” or “essential” hypertension*:
Age: Blood pressure tends to rise with age. About half of people over the age of 65 have high blood pressure.

Ethnicity: The incidence of high blood pressure is higher among members of some ethnic groups, such as South Asians, First Nations, Aboriginal Peoples or Inuit, and Black Canadians.

Family history: If one of your parents has high blood pressure, you have a 1 in 5 chance of developing the condition. If both of your parents have high blood pressure, your risk is 1 in 3.

Obesity: Excessive weight is a risk factor – especially if weight is stored around the abdomen.

Diabetes: People with diabetes are at increased risk for high blood pressure.

Stress: Repeated exposure to stress may raise blood pressure levels or contribute to unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Excessive alcohol consumption: Alcohol increases blood pressure.

Cigarette Smoking: Smoking may cause high blood pressure in certain individuals.

*Source: The Heart and Stroke Foundation


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