Monitoring blood pressure early key

Sept. 15, 2009 at 1:34 AM

DALLAS, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Knowing your blood pressure and your family's health history are key to getting a handle on high blood pressure, a U.S researcher says.

Blacks are more prone to early onset of high blood pressure, Dr. Shawna Nesbitt, associate professor of internal medicine and a hypertension specialist at University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, said in a statement.

"While there is no single reason, there are ways to combat it," Nesbitt said. "Getting regular checkups and knowing your blood pressure is extremely important."

Nesbitt says knowing whether or not you have other risk factors for hypertension is important in assessing risk.

"Other health problems like heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and high cholesterol may highlight the need for earlier treatment of high blood pressure."

The earlier in life a person begins treating blood pressure, the healthier the person will be, Nesbitt says.

Those with risk factors for high blood pressure should aim to keep body weight in the normal range, lose weight if needed, maintain a low salt/high fiber diet and exercise regularly -- about 30 minutes at least four days each week, Nesbitt explains.

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