The best way to keep blood pressure under control?



Maintaining a healthy weight could be the key to keeping your blood pressure in check.

New research indicates a healthy weight throughout your life can be more effective in controlling blood pressure over the long term than exercise, diet, not smoking and reducing alcohol consumption.

“These results provide evidence that what we may want to do is focus on how we can create interventions that will enable individuals to maintain a normal body weight throughout their lifetimes,” said researcher John N. Booth III, Ph.D., whose work was presented during the American Heart Association and American Society of Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.

Controlling blood pressure is crucial because it’s a leading preventable cause of death and greatly increases risk for heart disease, stroke and other major health problems. It’s often referred to as the “silent killer” because it has no obvious symptoms.

Booth, a postdoctoral fellow of the AHA’s Strategically Focused Hypertension Research Network at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, noted there are clear benefits to all the healthy habits. “The other behaviors we studied may play an important role since they can influence body weight,” he said.

Researchers assessed 4,630 people ages 18 to 30. Their blood pressure and other behaviors were measured initially and eight more times over 25 years, starting in 1985. The researchers measured based on:

  • a healthy body weight, measured as a body mass index less than 25;
  • never smoking;
  • zero to seven alcoholic drinks weekly for women and zero to 14 for men;
  • eating a healthy diet, based on adhering to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan.

Researchers found those who maintained optimal body weight were 41 percent less likely to have an increasing blood pressure as they aged. People who maintained at least four health behaviors were 27 percent more likely to have a normal blood pressure from early adulthood through middle age.

Maintaining physical activity and a healthy diet were not associated with changes in blood pressure, according to the study. Never smoking and maintaining no or moderate alcohol consumption were associated with less of an increase in blood pressure by middle age.

Edit ModuleShow Tags


 


 


 

Stroke Connection. Download the free app today.


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Stroke Rehabilitation Two-Part Series

Making the Best Decisions at Discharge After Stroke

The type of rehabilitation and support systems a survivor receives at discharge can strongly influence health outcomes and recovery. In this, the first part of a two-part series on stroke rehab, we offer guidance for the decision-making process required when it’s time to leave the hospital.

What to Expect in Stroke Rehab

Following a stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type rehabilitation. In this second of our two-art series, we want to alleviate some of the mystery, fear and anxiety around the inpatient rehab part of the stroke recovery journey.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

AHA-ASA Resources

The Support Network

When faced with challenges recovering from heart disease or stroke, it’s important to have emotional support. That is why we created a network to connect patients and loved ones with others during their journey.

Stroke Family Warmline

The Warmline connects stroke survivors and their families with an ASA team member who can provide support, helpful information or just a listening ear.

Let's Talk About Stroke Patient Information Sheets

Let's Talk About Stroke is a series of downloadable patient information sheets, created by the American Stroke Association, that presents information in a question-and-answer format that's brief, easy to follow and easy to read.

Request Free Stroke Information Packets

Fill out this online form to request free information about a variety of post-stroke topics.

Caregiver Guide to Stroke

The Caregiver Guide to Stroke is meant to help caregivers better navigate the recovery process and the financial and social implications of a stroke.

Tips for Daily Living Library

This volunteer-powered library gathers tips and ideas from stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals all over the country who’ve created or discovered adaptive and often innovative ways to get things done!

Stroke Support Group Finder

To find a group near you, simply enter your ZIP code and a mile radius. If your initial search does not pull up any groups, try
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Stroke & Parts of the Brain

When Stroke Affects the Frontal Lobe

Of the four lobes that make up the cerebral cortex, the frontal lobe is the largest. It plays a huge role in many of the functions that make us human — memory, language, movement, judgment, abstract thinking.

When Stroke Affects the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has several functions, mainly involved with memory, perception and language.

When Stroke Affects the Brain Stem

The brain stem serves as a bridge in the nervous system. It sits at the top of the spinal column in the center of the brain. When a stroke happens there, it can cause a few different deficits and, in the most severe cases, can lead to locked-in syndrome.

When Stroke Affects the Thalamus

The thalamus can be thought of as a "relay station," receiving signals from the brain’s outer regions (cerebral cortex), interpreting them, then sending them to other areas of the brain to complete their job.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Departments

Stroke Notes

Stroke-related news you can use about new scientific findings, public policy, programs and resources.

Readers Room

Articles, poems and art submitted by stroke survivors and their loved ones.

Life Is Why

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. These stroke survivors, caregivers and others share their 'whys'. We'd love for you to share yours, too!

Everyday Survival

Practical tips and advice for day-to day living after stroke.

Life At The Curb

A unique perspective on survival by comedian and stroke survivor John Kawie.

Simple Cooking

Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. Here are simple, healthy and affordable recipes and cooking tips.

Support Showcase

Our new department highlighting the good work being done by stroke support groups from around the nation. If you are part of a successful support group we should consider featuring, let us know!