Here is an alarming statistic: In Nigeria, about 22 per cent of the population are affected by high blood pressure (HBP) and it is called a silent killer, because it doesn’t show signs or symptoms till it becomes too late. Nigerians living with high blood pressure is estimated at about 56 million.
One out of every three, or 77.9 million, adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, according to a report by the American Heart Association – and it is only getting worse.
By 2030, it is projected that 41.4 per cent of U.S. adults would have high blood pressure.
Why is this so serious?
Nearly 28 per cent of Americans do not even know they have the disease. It’s called the “silent killer” because high blood pressure or hypertension is a cardiovascular disease that is very difficult to detect. The symptoms and signs are subtle.
As a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, hypertension is the primary cause of death in Americans. It is one of the most preventable conditions — but if left uncontrolled it can increase your risk of life-threatening health problems like a heart attack or a stroke.
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure measures the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Your blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when your heart relaxes between beats.
While the number can fluctuate from minute to minute with changes in posture, exercise, stress or food, it should normally be less than 120/80 mmHg. Any higher, and you could be diagnosed with high blood pressure by your doctor. (Hg is the pressure that one millimetre (mm) of mercury (Hg) exerts.)
The good news: Most people can bring down their blood pressure naturally by adjusting their diet. Food matters.
Here are foods to avoid if you have high blood pressure or just want to minimize your chances of getting high blood pressure, using data compiled from WedMD, Healthline.com and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The donuts you love are indeed one of the foods to avoid if you have high blood pressure or just want to be a healthy person. The ring-shaped fried dough snack is worse than many other snacks in the market. Being fried, it contains lots of saturated and trans fats – more trans fat than peanut butter, chocolate bars or even chips. For all of these reasons and more, donuts need to be avoided.
A healthy eating plan should have only a small amount, if any, of saturated or trans-fats. Fatty foods are bad for both the heart and blood vessels. An 18 oz. ribeye at LongHorn Steakhouse without any sauce has about 1140 calories, 79 grams of fat and 1,500 mg of sodium.
Hardly will anyone believe that milk will be in this list. Milk is a great source of calcium, but high-fat dairy sources, like whole milk, provides you more fat than you need. One cup serving of whole milk has about eight grams of fat, five grams of which are saturated. Saturated fats are worse for you than other types and has been linked to heart disease. Try using two per cent milk or, even better, one per cent or skim.
TO BE CONTINUED…
This story was published in Newswatch Times on June 27, 2015.