Start the New Year with a Healthy Heart

Keeping your blood pressure under control can help prevent heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, eye disease, and more. As you plan for 2019, make sure you get off to a healthy start with the following tips:

  • Choose a low-sodium diet. An excellent model for a heart-healthy diet is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet. This diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy while still allowing moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts. The Standard DASH Diet aims to keep you below 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day, while the Lower Sodium Dash Diet keeps you below 1,500 mg of sodium. The latter is recommended by the American Heart Association for all adults1.
    • Bremo tip: Eating well should be a lifestyle change, not a temporary fix! Stay away from fad diets and “cleanses,” and make your dietary changes gradually to help them stick. Be kind to yourself when you slip up, and stick with it! Easy ways to start include cutting out sodas and added salt, then slowly increasing your vegetable intake. As always, call your Bremo Team if you need help making this change!
  • Make purposeful movements. Physical activity is a great way to keep your heart healthy, but just like everything else, you need to gradually implement purposeful movements into your daily regimen. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. Start slow and work up to a goal of 30 minutes of continuous exercise per day, five days a week. Consistency is key – the more you regularly exercise, the easier it will become and the better you will feel.
    • Bremo tip #1: Start with an accountability partner! When someone else is keeping you accountable for your physical activity, it is easier to stick with your structured plan.
    • Bremo tip #2: If you have limited movement, chair exercises. If you have a limited budget, try lifting canned goods. If you have weak knees, try low-impact activities such as swimming or biking. Deciding where to start can be daunting, but there is an option for everyone and we are here to help!
  • Quit smoking. It is never too late to quit smoking! Smoking puts you at a higher risk of having heart-related problems as you age. Make a quit plan today, and know you can always call Bremo or 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support!
  • Decrease excessive alcohol consumption. Men with confirmed hypertension should have no more than two drinks per day and women with hypertension should limit themselves to one drink per day. Check out what a standard drink size is below:
  • Check your blood pressure regularly, and check it right! The goal blood pressure for most adults is <130/80 mmHg2. There are a number of factors that can contribute to high blood pressure including diet, physical activity, alcohol, stress, and illnesses. In order to be diagnosed with Stage 1 Hypertension, you must have two or more blood pressure readings above 130/80 mmHg on two or more occasions. Check your blood pressure at home in-between doctor visits with an automatic blood pressure monitor, and keep a log of your readings. (Sometimes, insurance will even cover the cost of automatic blood pressure monitors with a prescription from your doctor!)
    • Bremo tip: To make sure you get an accurate reading, make sure you follow the following tips:
      • Sit quietly for five minutes before measuring blood pressure
      • Avoid smoking, caffeine, or exercise for 30 minutes before checking blood pressure
      • Sit in a chair that supports your back instead of a sofa or couch
      • Place both feet on the floor
      • Keep legs uncrossed
      • Support your arm on a table or other supportive surface so the blood pressure cuff is at heart level
      • Take your medications at the same time every day, and note if you have missed any medications at your appointment
      • If you find yourself flustered at the doctor’s office, your blood pressure may be falsely elevated. If visiting the doctor makes you anxious, you can ask your doctor about using a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor. This will allow your doctor to see what your blood pressure looks like for a full day when you are not at the office, since stress and anxiety can falsely elevate your blood pressure.

High or uncontrolled blood pressure can have devastating effects to patients. These could include heart failure, coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and more1. Remember, Bremo Pharmacy is a Small Pharmacy with BIG HEARTS, so we invite you to learn ways to keep your heart healthy here. We want our patients to have the best control of their blood pressure so we are offering FREE blood pressure screenings the entire first quarter of 2018. That’s right- you can get your blood pressure checked for FREE at Bremo all through January, February, and March. Just called ahead of time and set up an appointment at 804-288-8361×120.

 

References:

  1. “DASH Diet: Healthy eating to lower your blood pressure.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic Staff. April 08, 2016. Accessed January 1, 2018.
  2. 2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017;Nov 13

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