High blood pressure is a serious threat to the health of all Canadians. It is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease. Nearly a quarter of Canadian adults have been diagnosed with hypertension (the medical name for high blood pressure). Many more may have it and don’t know it, because the condition produces no symptoms. The only way to know if your blood pressure is within the normal range is to have it tested. The test is simple, painless, and takes only a minute or two.
The best way to prevent high blood pressure—and to manage the condition if you have it—is to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends these simple steps:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced, diet that is low in fat
- Reduce the amount of salt you consume
- Check with your doctor to see if you should eat foods rich in potassium (such as bananas, cantaloupes, grapefruits, oranges, and tomato or prune juice)
- Participate in regular physical activity (If you have been inactive for a while, see your doctor for a check-up first)
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Take time to relax (Stress can lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking, and eating junk food)
If your doctor recommends blood pressure medication for you, take it exactly as prescribed. If you have any questions about high blood pressure or if there is anything you don’t understand about your medications, stop by the pharmacy and ask your Sobeys Pharmacist.