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Hypertension. You might
know it as high blood
pressure, but you probably
don’t realize that nearly one
in three adults – more than
75 million – has it.
And yes, that means it could
happen to you.
Hypertension can sneak up
on you, says Brian Gietzen,
M.D., Internal Medicine,
Beaumont Hospitals. “We call it the silent killer. In most
cases, the frst symptom you have is a stroke or heart attack.
That’s why it’s so important to check your blood pressure
The key is to control hypertension through lifestyle changes
before you need medication, says the Rochester Hills
physician. “I know it sounds easier to take a pill, but
controlling it yourself is 20 times more efective than using
Consider these rewards: One study suggests you can add as
much as a decade to your life through lifestyle changes,
he says.
Dr. Gietzen ofers these fve ways to control your blood
pressure without medication:
Exercise regularly
– Try a half-hour brisk walk
(about two miles) three times a week. (That’s a
four-mile-per-hour pace on a treadmill.)
Manage your weight
– Counting calories is still
the best way to maintain a healthy weight, and
that’s why he recommends Weight Watchers.®
(Remember, HAP and Alliance Health and Life
Insurance Company plan members receive
discounted rates).
– A high-fber, low-fat diet is your best bet.
Eat whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and
low-fat dairy.
The Lowdown on High Blood Pressure
Less sodium
– Keep it under 2,300 mg per day (or
1,500 mg per day if you have kidney disease,
diabetes or have been diagnosed with
See your doctor regularly
“Your personal doctor should be your coach, giving you
specifc advice on how to control your blood pressure,” says
Dr. Gietzen.
You can also exercise, set weight goals and experiment with
low-sodium recipes with a support person. If your doctor has
prescribed blood pressure medication, take it as prescribed
while making lifestyle changes. With a consistent efort, you
may get the OK from your doctor to eliminate your
For more about Weight Watchers,® call toll-free
(800) 3-FLORINE
and mention that you’re a HAP HMO or
Alliance member, or enroll online at
and provide your HAP HMO or Alliance I.D. number.
LiveWell: Health
Brian Gietzen, M.D.