The National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP) has several new and updated resources to help consumers and their clinicians better control their blood pressure. The print and online resources integrate the most current research findings, such as recently announced evidence of the effect of salt and sodium on blood pressure. NHBPEP is coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Fifty million Americans have high blood pressure, and less than 30 percent are controlling their condition. High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, heart attacks, congestive heart failure, progression of kidney disease, and death. A consistent blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered high blood pressure.
"Our public awareness efforts continue to focus on the importance of a heart-healthy lifestyle," said NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant. "Scientific studies have shown that there are many steps that people can take to control their blood pressure and lower their risk of heart disease and other life-threatening conditions. For example, certain dietary habits can decrease blood pressure and prevent it from rising, and we encourage all Americans to consume more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, and to lower their intake of salt and dietary sodium.
Tips on healthy eating are included in NHLBI's expanded and redesigned Web site, "Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure". In addition, the site features information on other behaviors that contribute to blood pressure control such as maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, and abstaining from excessive amounts of alcohol. There are also interactive quizzes and tools, information on medications, real-life examples and recipes to help manage high blood pressure, and a new section on issues specific to women, such as preeclampsia. Continuing education programs and interactive software are available to help clinicians stay abreast of the latest recommendations in high blood pressure prevention, detection, and treatment.
An updated brochure and other materials describe the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet and include practical suggestions for limiting intake of salt and sodium. Results of the DASH-Sodium and other studies show that individuals with hypertension as well as those with normal blood pressure benefit significantly from lowering salt and sodium consumption.
For these and other resources for better heart health, visit the NHLBI Web site at www.nhlbi.nih.gov or call the NHLBI Health Information Center at (301) 592-8573.
- Aim for a Healthy Weight:
- The National High Blood Pressure Education Program: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/nhbpep/index.htm [Link no longer available]
- High Blood Pressure Guidelines: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-pro/guidelines/current/hypertension-jnc-7