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6 Steps to Reducing Your Blood Pressure

World Health Day is held on April 7th to mark the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. Each year a theme is selected that highlights a worldwide public health issue and this year’s theme is high blood pressure. Did you know one in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure? High blood pressure – also known as hypertension – increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. If left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can also cause vision problems, such as “hypertensive retinopathy,” and even blindness!During a comprehensive eye exam an eyecare professional can view the blood vessels in the retina (a light-sensitive membrane in the back of the eye responsible for collecting and transmitting images to the brain) and detect signs of high blood pressure.  Most people don’t experience symptoms until it’s detected in an eye exam.  When left untreated it can cause vision loss by swelling of the optic nerve, narrowing of blood vessels and swelling on the surface area of the retina.Fortunately, high blood pressure can be prevented and treated by:

  • reducing salt intake
  • eating a balanced diet
  • avoiding or limiting alcohol
  • regular physical activity
  • maintaining a healthy body weight
  • avoiding tobacco use

Monitoring your blood pressure combined with an annual comprehensive eye exam could save your vision!

By Dave Johnston

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