From Japan (Sakurajima) to Italy (Stromboli), 41 volcanoes are currently relieving their high magma pressure, spewing ash that makes the countryside unrecognizable. In much the same way, if you have chronic high blood pressure, it fogs your brain, making it hard for you to see clearly what’s going on!
Two new studies reveal that if your blood pressure is over 140/90, you’re at a substantially increased risk for cognition problems — even if you’re taking antihypertensive medications. Around 6 percent of the general population reports difficulty thinking clearly, but it’s 8 percent for folks with HBP. In addition, 25 percent of people with HBP report physical and nonphysical functional problems, such as difficulty with mobility and memory, as opposed to 15 percent of folks without HBP.
Three ways to take pressure off
1. Check your BP annually; if elevated, discuss anti-hypertension meds with your doctor. An elevated BP is very treatable. We have over 10 different classes of drugs. If you’re given a prescription, fill it and take the meds as directed. Two-thirds of people don’t!
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2. Lose weight if you’re overweight. In a Cochrane Review, researchers identified several year-long studies in which people losing around 9 pounds lowered their systolic pressure (the top number) by 4.5 and diastolic (the bottom number) by 3. Even small reductions help protect your cardiovascular system.
3. To lose weight and keep it off, banish all trans and most saturated fats, processed grains and all red and processed meats.
4. Deflate stress with exercise (10,000 steps a day, no excuses!) and meditation.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.