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New study reveals 5 ways to reduce high blood pressure

The University of Calgarys Cumming School of Medicine recently revealed a study that shows the act of treating high blood pressure throughout Canada eat...

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|Sep 17|magazine13 min read

The University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine recently revealed a study that shows the act of treating high blood pressure throughout Canada eat up about 10 percent of the country’s health-care budget.

In fact, just in 2010 alone, the federal government spent USD$13.9 billion treating the various symptoms and consequences of this condition. Unfortunately, these numbers are only continuing to rise and show no sign of slowing down any time soon.

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Originally reported by our sister brand Business Review Canada, nine out of 10 people will develop high blood pressure during their lives. Specifically, if nothing is done to stop this epidemic, Canadian taxpayers could pay more than USD$20 billion by 2020 on this disease.

It’s a well-known fact that blood pressure can be caused by a variety of factors; one of the main roots is stress. If you have a particularly high-charged career in which you’re consistently feeling overwhelmed or strained, then you could be at risk for developing high blood pressure.

To stop the problem before it begins (or to maybe get a handle on the issue), we’ve put together a list of lifestyle changes that can help you avoid this growing disease.

1. Watch your weight

As your weight increases, so can your blood pressure. Working 12+ hour days may not leave much room for exercising or eating healthy, but it’s vital to take care of yourself and to be mindful of your state of health.

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Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. In fact, just losing 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure. Therefore, make time to exercise regularly and eat healthy. Avoid the convenience of fat, greasy foods.

2. Don’t consume too much sodium

One of the main components to eating healthy is to avoid or reduce your sodium intake. Even the smallest reduction of sodium in your diet can reduce your blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.

There are different ways you can accomplish this goal such as reading food labels, eating fewer processed foods and by not adding table salt to your meal.

3. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink

If you happened to have a particlualry stressful day at the office, you may choose to unwind with a cocktail—watch how many you throw back.

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Sure, in small amounts, alcohol can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4mm Hg. However, if you drink too much, then alcohol can have the opposite effect. Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points, as well as reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

The same can also be said for caffeine—what the amount you put into your body on a daily basis.

4. Quit smoking cigarettes

If you’re a smoker, stop! Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish it. Quitting smoking can actually help your blood pressure return to normal, as well as potentially increase your life expectancy.

5. Rid yourself of stressful situations

And finally, if your life is stressful, it’s imperative to rid yourself of these situations. After all, stress can lead to eating poorly, consuming more alcohol and smoking more cigarettes—all triggers of high blood pressure.

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Determine what factors in your life are particularly stressful, and then find ways to eliminate stress from these areas. You may need to change your expectations, learn your stress triggers or make significant time to relax and take part in activities that you enjoy.

If you don’t take care of yourself, then who will? There’s no time like the present to take control of your body and health and start making a difference. After all, you only get one life—don’t waste it!

[SOURCE: CBC News and Mayo Clinic]

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