Research Reveals Key to Healthy Blood Pressure
Controlling blood pressure is important for good health. High blood pressure – often called the “silent killer” because it does not cause obvious symptoms – is a leading preventable cause of death, increasing the risk for heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems.
While lifestyle measures, such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and limiting alcohol intake, and medication, if necessary, can help control blood pressure, a new study suggests one factor is key: Maintaining a healthy weight. According to researchers, the importance of other lifestyle factors stems – at least in part – from their effect on body weight.
For the study, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham assessed blood pressure and lifestyle factors in 4,630 people between the ages of 18 and 30 nine times over a 25-year period, beginning in 1985. They discovered study participants who maintained a healthy body weight over the course of the study were 41 percent less likely to have an increasing blood pressure with age. Those who maintained at least four healthy behaviors were 27 percent more likely to have normal blood pressure through middle age.