Saturday, January 19, 2019

Blood Pressure and African Americans II: Five Practical Steps to Manage Your Numbers.

May 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Health, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( This is the second in a series of articles about the importance of managing our blood pressure as African Americans.

As I noted in my previous article, blood pressure in the black community is a huge problem and represents one of the highest incidences of negative health outcomes in the world. Up to 40% of African Americans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

And that’s just the percentage we’ve diagnosed; there could be millions more who suffer from high blood pressure unknowingly.
This article will list five practical steps you can take to reduce and/or effectively manage your blood pressure. We must make a change!

Lose Weight

For every 10 pounds of weight you lose, you can lower your systolic blood pressure by roughly 2 to 10 points! That’s huge. Your heart will not be forced to work as hard as a result.

I know this from experience. In my earlier article, I shared how I launched my own blood pressure reduction campaign. Although not grossly overweight, I knew that I could afford to drop a few ‘fat pounds’. I ended up losing 12 pounds and my systolic blood pressure dropped an average of 10-12 points!

This by far is the most amenable variable at our control. And it works!

Reduce Salt

Salt and sodium are the twin evils of unhealthy blood pressure. Take salt out of your diet completely and use substitutes. Or, even better, use alternatives for seasoning your food. Another thing to do is to read labels. Watch for high sodium products (it’s in just about everything!). You should limit your daily intake of sodium to no more than 2200 mg.

Eat Fruits and Vegetables Daily

We’ve been told since we were kids to eat our vegetables, right? Apparently, most people didn’t listen to their parents. Studies show more than half of Americans are in a vegetable deficit as it relates to daily intake. That’s probably due to the fact that most people don’t have the time to steam their veggies due to work and other demands upon time. Steaming, though, is the best thing to do because the veggies retain their minerals.

Watch out for the so-called ‘vegetable-based’ drinks; they tend to be high in sugar.

Either way, shoot for five servings per day of fruits and veggies.

Get Physically Active

This one is my favorite and it’s closely related to point one. The more physically active you are, the better your weight management. A strong body discards excess pounds. A weak body retains the excess pounds. The more physically active you are, the stronger your body. Conversely, if you are seated and inactive for most of the day, your body is simply going to be weak and de-conditioned.

Important note: what you do at your job all day is considered “everyday activities”; your body has adapted to the same or similar routine and is no longer being pushed beyond normalcy. You must do something to change that dynamic – like going for a power walk or walking the stairs!

Avoid Smoking

Avoid smoking and, just as crucial, avoid the smoking behavior of others. In other words, don’t put yourself in the company of people who smoke – whether in a closed or open environment. Second-hand smoke has proven to be just as lethal as smoking directly.

Staff Writer; W. Eric Croomes

This talented brother is a holistic lifestyle exercise expert and founder and executive coach of Infinite Strategies LLC, a multi-level coaching firm that develops and executes strategies for fitness training, youth achievement and lifestyle management. Eric is an author, fitness professional, holistic life coach and motivational speaker.

In October 2015, Eric released Life’s A Gym: Seven Fitness Principles to Get the Best of Both, which shows readers how to use exercise to attract a feeling of wellness, success and freedom (Infinite Strategies Coaching LLC, 2015) –

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