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Take control of your blood pressure

Posted on: February 2, 2018

 Everyone knows someone with high blood pressure, but how many of us actually know what blood pressure is? Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the artery (big blood vessel) walls as the heart beats. It’s normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day, but if it stays consistently high for a long time, it can damage the heart.

“Blood pressure is a big concern for seniors because it’s a ‘silent killer,’” explains David Covell, MPH, RS, health commissioner at Lorain County Public Health. “It doesn’t have any warning signs or symptoms, so a lot of people don’t know they have it until they start having problems like stroke or heart disease.”  Luckily, it’s easy to find out if you have high blood pressure. In fact, blood pressure monitors are available for checkout at the following local libraries:

To discover if your blood pressure is consistently too high, take your blood pressure daily and keep track of your blood pressure readings. Write down the numbers in the blood pressure wallet card provided in the library kit, or use an app on your phone like “Check it: Your Blood Pressure” by Park Bench Digital (download for free in Google Play Store or on iTunes). Then, share your results with a health care provider.

If you have high blood pressure or if you want to prevent high blood pressure, take these four easy steps to get in control:

  1. If you smoke, find help to quit. Talk to a health care provider or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help. Tobacco immediately raises blood pressure in the short-term, and causes additional damage to arteries in the long term.
  2. Be active. Ask your doctor what type of exercise might be best for you - consider starting with a brisk daily walk. Physical activity makes the heart stronger and lessens stress on arteries.
  3. Eat less salt, and eat more fruits and vegetables. Salt makes you dehydrated, which causes high blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables can help hydrate you and keep you healthy overall. Eating from the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is one technique that’s proven to help lower blood pressure. Read the book, or check out the recipe below!
  4. Join the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring program to help you learn to manage blood pressure. Send an email to HealthyLiving@ClevelandY.com, or leave a message for Linda at 216-509-3480 to register or to ask questions.

Fabulous Frittata – adapted from DASHDiet.org

  • 6 eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 1 tsp. dried basil (or 1 Tbs. diced fresh basil)
  • 2 Tbs. canola or olive oil
  • 1 c. peppers, sliced
  • 1/4 cup onion, sliced
  • 1 c. frozen corn
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 oz. shredded cheese

Lightly stir eggs, add basil. Pour the oil into non-stick frying pan with metal handle, over medium heat. When oil is hot, add pepper strips, onion, and frozen corn. (Substitute a frozen mixture of peppers and onions, if desired). Sauté for 3 minutes, then add tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Pour egg-basil mixture over vegetables. Use spatula to lift edges and allow eggs to fall to bottom of mixture as the frittata cooks. When egg mixture thickens all the way through, top with cheese. Brown under broiler for 2 - 3 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.

Tips: Be sure to use a pan with a metal handle; plastic will melt under the broiler. Cut into individual portions and freeze for a quick healthy meal later.