The American Heart Association has a new ally in its war against heart disease—the YMCA. These two organizations have worked for years to help Americans get and stay healthy. But now, they are partnering up to tackle a major health care crisis, high blood pressure. Starting this spring, more than 100 clinics will begin referring patients who qualify for the program to the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring program. This is a no cost initiative through local YMCA’s that “combines blood pressure self-monitoring, nutrition education seminars and personalized support”. As part of the naturopathic health community, we applaud this movement as it helps people take control of their own health care, a hallmark of naturopathic medicine.
How Regular Blood Pressure Checks Can Help
It has often been said that “knowledge is power” and this is particularly true with your health—the more you know, the more likely you are to make healthy decisions guided by this information. Regular blood pressure checks provide you with a piece of information that can lead to proactive health care choices This is also important because recent research has revealed that a spectrum of blood pressure readings provide a more accurate impression of a person’s real heart health. In many ways, checking your blood pressure outside of a clinical atmosphere may be much better due to various factors in the clinical setting that can cause false readings. Checking your blood pressure in multiple settings and at different times will provide a truer sense of your blood pressure and heart health. If your blood pressure is consistently “normal,” then you know you can possibly keep doing what you have been doing or look to preventive measures to improve your overall cardiac profile. But if your blood pressure is consistently registering as ‘high’ or ‘borderline’, there are action steps you can take to begin to lower your pressure, and possibly prevent further heart health issues.
What To Do About High Blood Pressure
There are several things that you can do if you have high blood pressure to naturally reduce it. First is to reduce your intake of salt, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and flour. A lot of these substances, particularly salt and sugar can be found in processed foods, so eliminating these from your diet is a good first step. Alcohol and caffeine may not have to be removed completely from your diet, but if maintained, it’s best if they’re limited and used in moderation. For some people, food allergies can also contribute to hypertension, so be sure to get tested to understand if this is an issue. In addition, healthy habits such as eating more fruits and vegetables and increasing exercise can help to decrease your blood pressure. These steps can contribute to weight loss, which may have a direct impact on your blood pressure. Finally, it’s really important to quit smoking as soon as possible to help get your blood pressure under control.
Because of the increase in heart disease and high blood pressure, this partnership between the YMCA and American Heart Association is a positive show of support for the importance in activity on cardiac health. Partnerships such as this will help to further promote health by preventing disease. By providing patients with knowledge, they then may find empowerment to make lasting changes that can be the difference between life and death.