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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shake the Salt Habit

     Most Americans of all ages consume far more salt than they need. This is frequently the cause -- or a contributing factor -- in high blood pressure, also called hypertension.
     Hypertension is a silent killer. It is an illiness without symptoms. It threatens the livers and health of most Americans than cancer. And the experts estimate that at least half the people suffering from high blood pressure don't even know it.
     Hypertension is a factor in hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from heart desease, strokes and kidney failure. It can be detected only by a medical examination. And blood pressure can vary from one day to the next, so those with high blood pressure should have it checked frequently.
     Only your doctor can tell you whether your blood pressure is in the normal range. A general rule of thumb is that a reading of 120/80 is normal for most people. A reading of 140/90 is generally considered borderline hypertension. Readings over 220/140 are considered severe and dangerous.
     People with hypertension are four times more likely to have heart attacks than those with normal blood pressure. And when they do have heart attacks, the attacks are more likely to be fatal.
     The hypertensive individual is five times as likely to suffer a stroke as the person with normal blood pressure.

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