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For Immediate Release                                      July 25, 2001

How Low Can You Go: Tips for Reducing High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, the "silent killer," puts one in five Americans at risk for stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. Also called hypertension, it is in many cases preventable and rarely shows any symptoms.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and high blood pressure raises the risk of stroke four to six times higher. High blood pressure is likely to strike twice as many African-Americans than Caucasians.

"While men are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure, women account for six out of 10 deaths over the age of 65," said James Landis, Jr., M.D., board certified cardiologist and medical director of The Heart Institute at Sharon Regional. "While there are factors that contribute to hypertension that can't be controlled - such as age, family history and diabetes - individuals can make beneficial lifestyle changes."

Awareness and early treatment of high blood pressure can significantly reduce the risk of stroke. LaurusHealth, a consumer health information web site, offers these suggestions for lowering blood pressure:
*Exercise. Thirty to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise every day can lower blood pressure, as well as improve the health of your heart and lungs.
*Lose weight. Dropping as little as 10 pounds can decrease blood pressure.
*Reduce stress. Yoga, biofeedback and relaxation training are excellent techniques for reducing stress.
*Stop smoking. Smoking doubles the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
*Cut back on foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

If lifestyle changes alone are not effective in preventing or treating hypertension, medication can be prescribed to help keep blood pressure under control.