Stress is a common complaint among families during the holidays – not many discuss how the holidays are effecting their blood pressure, but it is. One in three US adults has high blood pressure (HBP), also known as the “silent killer”. There are no symptoms, and many adults do not know they have it. HBP can have life-threatening consequences when left untreated, including heart attacks, stroke, kidney damage, erectile dysfunction and vision loss.
The American Heart Association has five quick tips for staying heart-healthy during the holi ”daze”.
1. Healthy Indulgences: From holiday parties to family dinners, comfort foods abound in the winter months. Avoid foods with high levels of fat and salt to maintain healthy blood pressure by transforming your winter favorites into heart-healthy indulgences. Here’s a great recipe for chicken pot pie.
2. Holiday Cheers: Celebratory indulgences don’t stop with food, excessive alcohol consumption often occurs during the holiday time period as well. If you drink, limit your alcohol consumption to no more two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
3. Stay Active: Don’t allow the cold weather to send you into hibernation mode. Even moderate exercise such as a brisk walk with co-workers during your lunch hour can help with keeping blood pressure under control.
4. Check Please: If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or with pre-hypertension, research has shown that monitoring blood pressure at home can be helpful in addition to regular monitoring in a healthcare provider's office. Visit www.heart.org/hbp for the latest AHA recommendations on home monitoring.
5. Resolutions Abound: It’s important to follow these tips throughout the year, not just around the holidays. Assess your risk and learn more about incorporating a healthy lifestyle permanently at www.heart.org/hbp.