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Jan 6, 2011

Healthy Living takes the Hype out of Hypertension

Hypertension is affecting a large percent of the population. It is caused by a sedentary lifestyle, aggravated by stress and other factors such as the foods we consume. But did you know that the best way to control this condition is through a healthy lifestyle? Here are tips to incorporate in your daily routines.

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

It’s one of several non communicable diseases to plague Belizeans. High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is one of the main causes of strokes and heart attacks yet many people still struggle to make adequate lifestyle changes and lower their blood pressure.  Internist at the Belize Medical Associates, Dr Fernando Cuellar explains some of the adjustments people need to make to take control of their blood pressure.

Doctor Fernando Cuellar, Internist/Intensivist

Fernando Cuellar

“We know that the most effective method to combat most effective way the most effective intervention is lifestyle intervention.   And by lifestyle change I mean, lots of things. Your diet, what you eat and particularly I can point out our salt intake and our sodium intake. Eat healthier. exercise regularly and don’t start an exercise programs like if you’re gonna ride cross country or competing in body building or being Mr. or Mrs. physique. You need to have regular exercise program. Lessen your alcohol intake. Stop smoking. Try to reach a weight that you would consider ideal for your height. By measuring what is called a BMI.”

The advice to get healthy seems to have fallen on deaf ears for Belizeans as hypertension remains a problem as the effects of obesity continue to manifest.  Added to the list of risk factors is Stress.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Obesity for sure is getting the best of us. I think people are not paying attention to their weight and no trying to reach closer to their ideal weight and pretty much we tend to be more sedentary. We get in our cars too often. We get in our cars to go to the grocery shop around the corner of the lane. We go in our vehicles.  Learn to manage stress better. I think over the past decade stress has really been something more prominent in our lifestyle the way we live nowadays. That’s not to say you should not have stress but you should manage it is perhaps the key.”

Doctor Cuellar suggests that, in addition to eating and living healthier, the blood pressure should be monitored regularly. He points out some signs of elevated blood pressure.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Headaches is of course the most normal complaint. Pain behind the head or behind the neck. You find people usually relate having a tightness the back of the head but it can be any headache or any different pattern of pain in the headache. Problems with their vision. Or getting dizzy. Is another common complaint. Having discomfort in their chest. And if you notice I said discomfort it doesn’t mean pain as such anybody who feels anything isn’t quite right should always check their blood pressure, Numbness to the hands and feet. Those are the most common complaint.”

What about the “NO SALT” Diet? Doctor Cuellar says not so; a pinch of salt can do.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Sodium is the most common electrolyte in the body. It regulates the tone of blood vessels. The kidney plays a role in managing your blood pressure and sodium has something to do with that. So there’s a direct relationship between the amount of sodium intake and your blood pressure.  One of the misconceptions that I see is that people feel like they should not have any salt; that they say they would not include salt in their food and that’s not the correct way you should lessen your salt intake.”

Be sure to read nutrition labels of canned goods as those can carry excess sodium.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“The most important thing is educating yourself, informing yourself. Knowing what the normal values knowing what are the warning signs if your pressure gets too high. Knowing how to recognize signs that would suggest that you’re having a stroke a heart attack or a complication f high blood pressure. Engaging yourself with your caregiver, don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Don’t let hypertension get the best of you. Small changes in your lifestyle can help you take control of your blood pressure today.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Healthy Living takes the Hype out of Hypertension”

  1. roxanne says:

    great advise. thanks, Dr. Cuellar.

  2. Earl Grey says:

    A LITTLE EXERCISE GOES A LONG WAY……………………………….20 minutes daily at least.

  3. Consern says:

    I’ve been going to gym for over half a century so I can speak with some authority. Most individuals who go to a gym to lose weight never stay with it because they want to lose the weight that they put on gadually over many years in relatively short time, and when they don’t achieve that they become discourage and stop. To get result it must become second nature to exercise. A person must get to the stage where they feel that something is missing from their daily doings if they don’t exercise; almost a guilt complex for not exercising.

    The same apply to what a person eat and drink. it must become a habit not to eat bad food as it is to eat bad food. Note that the body muscles has their own independent memory apart from the mind memories. This is why a person never forget how to ride a bicycle no matter how long one did not ride a bicycle, or many other things and habits we practices along life’s path. To get results from exercise take dicipline a determination to where it become second nature to exercise. Those who start to exercise late in life must make up their minds that they will have to beat the muscles into submision, because they are always demanding to go back to the old ways. The same goes for what we use to eat and drink. The bottom line folks, get to know thyself well . exercising is not only about the physical self, its also about your physic.

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