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  • Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the pressure of the blood being pumped through the arteries is abnormally high. High blood pressure is a condition that affects more than 65 million Americans, as stated by the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks. The condition is common among all people, but black people are at greater risk than other races of acquiring and dying from the disease.

    Lifestyle Changes

    Hypertension can be treated through a variety of lifestyle changes. Healthy living is the key to managing high blood pressure. A low-sodium, high-fiber diet that includes the intake of more fruits and vegetables and less saturated fat is vital. Weight management and moderate physical activity is healthy for the heart and also reduces the risk of obesity.

    Medication

    A physician may prescribe a combination of medication to treat high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, the most common drugs used to combat hypertension are diuretics, which are used to flush out excess sodium; beta-blockers, used to reduce the heart rate; blood vessel dilators, which relax the walls of the blood vessels; and calcium channel blockers, which prevent calcium buildup in the arteries.

    Risk Factors

    Those with a family history of hypertension are at greater risk of developing the condition. Other risk factors include high salt intake, stress, tobacco use, obesity, drug abuse, caffeine and limited physical activity.

    Symptoms

    The American Heart Association states that hypertension is considered a "silent killer." There are usually no symptoms until health complications arise. In addition to biological and lifestyle risk factors, hypertension can produce warning signs, such as dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, rapid heartbeat and sweating.

    Prevention

    The "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" warns that to prevent hypertension, you must drastically reduce or eliminate salt from the diet. Eat fruits, vegetables, grains and drink fresh juice. Avoid all saturated fat and processed foods. Manage your weight, exercise daily and completely avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.

    Source:

    International Society on Hypertension in Blacks

    The American Heart Association

    "Prescription for Nutritional Healing;" Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2000

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