May 102012
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Excess weight can cause hypertension, or high blood pressure. Obesity is quickly becoming an epidemic and is having a substantial negative impact of cardiovascular health and blood pressure. When elevated blood pressure is present, it puts people at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Excess weight places a strain on the heart, causing it to work harder. Although a physician can prescribe medications to reduce blood pressure, most health care providers prefer to initially try to reduce high blood pressure with diet and exercise first.

Eating a diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals can substantially lower blood pressure. Foods such as bananas, oranges and green leafy vegetables are high in potassium. Potassium is a vital mineral that has anti-hypertension properties. Drinking orange juice is also a great way to include more potassium in the diet. Although potassium supplements are available at most pharmacies, it may be best to consume potassium through the foods that you eat.

Being obese can also interfere with one’s exercise goals. Exercise helps people shed pounds, and by being obese, individuals may find that they are unable to raise their heart rates high enough to ensure a good cardiovascular workout. It is important to note that strenuous exercise is not recommended for people who are morbidly obese or out of shape. Discussing your exercise goals with your physician can help ensure a safe and effective exercise routine.

Steadily losing moderate amounts of weight can have a significant impact on blood pressure. It is better to lose weight slowly, than rapidly losing large amounts of weight. Losing a pound or two per week is preferable to losing weight too quickly, as this typically results in failure to keep the weight off. Losing weight can have such a significant impact on blood pressure that many times people are able to discontinue taking their prescription blood pressure medications.

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