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Improve Your Heart Health Now to Have Many Tomorrows

By HERWriter Blogger
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Improve Your Heart Health Now and Have Many Tomorrows Oleksandr Bilozerov/PhotoSpin

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D., who is the director of the Center for Nutrition Research, at the Institute for Food Safety and Health at Illinois Institute of Technology, as well as an an associate research nutritionist at the University of California, Davis.

We discussed the results of The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA) and how individuals can take the results from the study to improve their own cardiovascular health.

CARDIA is a 25-year study that shows a link between prehypertension in young adults to heart problems later in life. Dr. Burton-Freeman offered great insight about what you can do today to have a healthy heart for many tomorrows down the road.

Sheila Amir:

The CARDIA study links prehypertension in young adults to signs of heart disease in middle age, specifically the left ventricle. Where is a reliable place people can get their blood pressure taken and how often?

Dr. Burton-Freeman:

Pharmacy locations often provide blood pressure checks nowadays. Ask your local pharmacists. Community Centers or Park and Recreation Centers are other places where scheduled checks might be available.

We advise people to have their blood pressure measured at least once a year, but more often helps people stay on top of their health, and allows for detection of rising blood pressure numbers that might need attention early.


Honestly, many people don’t know what their blood pressure levels should be or what they mean. Can you explain the blood value ranges and what each number indicates?

Dr. Burton-Freeman:

When blood pressure is measured, two numbers are reported. One number is the systolic pressure and the other is called the diastolic pressure.

Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle contracts. Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure in the arteries in between heart muscle contractions, when the heart is resting and refilling with blood (preparing for the next contraction).

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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