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August 20, 2014, 8:24 pm

High blood pressure can be controlled

During a family reunion I found out that several of my family members have high blood pressure. I don’t have high blood pressure now and I don’t want to develop the condition. What can I do to avoid developing high blood pressure?

Linda,

Camden, N.J.

High blood pressure can cause serious problems, such as stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can be controlled with medication along with a change in diet, weight control, exercise, cessation of smoking and relaxation.

Limiting sodium intake is important because your blood pressure increases with use of sodium. Your diet should be high in fiber, which includes foods, such as fresh or frozen green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grain breads and cereals. These foods should make up about 65 percent of your diet. Proteins such as milk, egg whites, beans, fish, chicken, and an occasional slice of very lean beef should make up about 25 percent of your diet. Mono or polyunsaturated fats should make up around 10 percent. You should also be sure to drink water on a daily basis. Sometimes a change in diet and exercise can make you feel better and lower your resting blood pressure, but, no one should discontinue taking prescribed medication, unless your doctor tells you to stop.

Exercise can be beneficial to a person who has hypertension, but precautions should be taken. Before you get involved in an exercise program you need to have an exercise stress test administered by a professional. Initially, you may have to be supervised at a facility, which specializes in cardiac care or therapy. Sometimes people are tempted to quit taking medication, thinking that exercise will lower resting pressure. Your blood pressure is more likely to lower because of a combination of proper diet, exercise and medication. If it is high, you should avoid exercises that include sprint training, stop and go sports, such as karate, racquetball, heavy weight training and power lifting. Instead, lift moderate weights for 10–15 repetitions for toning. Because a sudden increase in blood pressure can be induced by exercise, it’s important to warm up slowly and increase the amount of time you exercise gradually. Walking, jogging, cycling and swimming should be done at low intensity. You should breathe normally while exercising and cool down slowly at the end of your exercise routine. It is important to follow these tips to keep blood vessels from dilating and constricting rapidly causing drastic changes in your blood pressure.

Fried vegetables

Are fried vegetables just as bad as other fried foods? I have fried eggplant a lot.

Jerome,

Princeton, N.J.

All fried foods if eaten in excess can affect your cholesterol, body fat level and increase your risk of heart disease and cancer. A study done in Australia found that vegetables absorb more fats when fried than fried meats. The amount of fat absorption depends on the type of vegetable and the length of time it is cooked. For example, eggplant is the worst offender, with a single serving absorbing 83 grams of fat in 70 seconds. That’s a lot of fat.

If you must fry at all, try stir-frying in canola oil or olive oil until they’re tender. Shorter cooking time means less fat absorbed in the food.

My feet hurt

“I jog everyday and my feet hurt almost everyday. My doctor hasn’t found anything wrong. What can I do with my tired, hurting feet?”

John,

Philadelphia

If you're a jogger, walker, play tennis or stand all day, make sure you give your feet some tender loving care. It only takes a few minutes a day and can help reduce pain, cramps and tiredness. Each day you should massage the whole foot gently. Then flex your toes upward toward the body and extend them by pointing the toes. From your ankle, roll the whole foot around. Stand on the ball of one foot and really press it into the floor, then do the supporting foot. Alternate holding your position for about 5 seconds. To give your feet the support they need always wear the proper shoes for the activity you're involved in. Sometimes you may have to use a professionally fitted shoe support. Ultimately, it will be well worth it. If you take care of your feet, they will take wherever you want to go.

Smoking

Can you give me some tips to help me quit smoking?

Mary,

Philadelphia

Below are some tips that may help you quit smoking.

1. Exercise to relieve tension; it’ll help take the edge off while you quit.

2. Hold your breath for 10 seconds and release slowly when the urge hits.

3. Quit smoking with a buddy.

4. Drink a lot of fluids, but avoid coffee and alcohol. Drinking plenty of water will help to clean your system.

5. Keep gum handy; it’ll give you something to put in your month.

6. Get rid of all the things that remind you of smoking.

Smoking is hard to quit but you can join millions of other Americans each year as they quit smoking forever.

There are several techniques to help you quit smoking. For more information on how to quit call the American Cancer Society.

Colds in the gym

How easy is it to catch a cold in the gym?

Roy,

Houston, Texas

Working out lately and can’t seem to get rid of a cold? It could be your gym. Working out in the gym can be hazardous to your health. Cold viruses can survive for several hours on your hands, hard surfaces and in cloth. Healthy people pick up a virus with their hands and infect themselves by touching their noses and eyes. The gym is loaded with surfaces that have been touched by other people who have viruses. According to some researchers, the way to train in a gym and reduce your chance of getting a cold is to wash your hands after your workout and keep your hands out of your face.

 

Before starting your fitness program, consult your physician. For help with drug, alcohol and mental health problems call Sobriety Through Outpatient drug, alcohol and mental health treatment center at (215) 227-7867. Watch or listen to our recovery media stations every day at www.stop-recoveryradio.com.

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