Vitamin D Supplements May Help Blacks Lower Blood Pressure

Vitamin D supplements may help African-Americans lower their blood pressure, researchers report in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. In fact, after three months, systolic blood pressure decreased for every 1000 units of vitamin D taken daily.

Systolic blood pressure, the top and highest number in a reading, is pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure, the bottom and lower number, is pressure in the arteries between heart beats.

African-Americans have higher rates of hypertension and lower levels of vitamin D3 than the rest of the U.S. population.

“Although this needs to be studied further, the greater prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among African-Americans may explain in part some of the racial disparity in blood pressure,” said John P. Forman, M.D., M.Sc., lead author of the study and Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Renal Division and Kidney Clinical Research Institute at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass.

More studies in larger groups of African-Americans are necessary to confirm the findings.

How to Reduce High Blood Pressure Naturally

When it comes to matters of the heart, high blood pressure is one of the most preventable problems. That’s a good thing — because it’s serious. High blood pressure contributes to 15 percent of deaths in the United States. It also boosts the risks of the leading killers, heart disease and stroke. And it can lead to kidney damage, hardening of the arteries, congestive heart failure, as well as impaired vision and blindness.

While you can lower your blood pressure with some medications, there are also natural ways to lower it safely. Try these tips:

  • De-stress by taking a break from work and listening to relaxing music or meditating.
  • Fit in physical activity with some yoga, deep breathing or vigorous walk.
  • Reduce your sodium intake.
  • Limit your caffeine — water is usually the best choice.
  • Don’t smoke! Smoking is the No. 1 preventable cause of death.
  • Eat more bananas — potassium helps counters the impact of sodium.
  • Enjoy a healthy diet with plenty of protein, high-fiber foods and fruits and veggies.
  • Consider taking heart-health supplements like Vitamin D and Omega 3 Fish Oil.

Keep close tabs on your blood pressure and talk to your healthcare provider about more ways to keep it under control.

Understand Your Risk for High Blood Pressure


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The cause of high blood pressure in many cases is unknown. However, research has found that there are several factors that can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure. Some of these risk factors are not preventable, such as age, race, or gender. Although you cannot control heredity, you can take steps to live a healthier life and in turn better manage those risk factors.

Learn more about the risk factors associated with high blood pressure.

What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is often a misunderstood medical condition. It is important to understand the facts about high blood pressure so that you know what actually takes place in the body when blood pressure is too high. If you understand the facts, you are more likely to actions to protect yourself now, whether your numbers indicate you have high blood pressure or not.

Learn more about what happens in the body when blood pressure is high.

Understanding Blood Pressure Reading

High blood pressure often has no symptoms, and yet the health consequences if not treated, can be deadly. Learn the basics about blood pressure and the numbers associated with it. Understanding these numbers is one of the necessary steps in preventing and controlling high blood pressure.

Learn more about high blood pressure.

AHA Blood Pressure Website

Blood pressure is something everyone has and needs. However, high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a danger to your health. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has a great website where you can learn what you need to know about high blood pressure. You will learn what the risk factors for high blood pressure are, and why it is so critical to get it under control. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to protect yourself from the “silent killer.”

Visit the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure website to learn more.

Are You Up for the Challenge? (Video)

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Get your game face on! If you have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, it’s time to bring your high blood pressure down. The American Heart Association is cheering you on to your healthiest life.


Understanding Blood Pressure

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When your heart pumps blood throughout your body, the blood flow exerts a force (or pressure) against the walls of your arteries called blood pressure.

Healthy arteries can stretch when your heart pumps blood through them. But when your blood pressure is high all the time, the walls of your arteries become overstretched and can even tear! Tiny tears and the scar tissue they leave can trap fatty deposits. These deposits lead to hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack. That’s why taking steps to reduce high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is very important. As a community, we need to take our health back into our own hands! It’s up to us to put ourselves and our families on a healthier path.

What causes high blood pressure?
There are various risk factors that contribute to high blood pressure. Some you can control, and some you can’t. For example, you can’t control your gender, race, age or family health history. But you can control your diet, sodium intake, physical activity, body weight, and alcohol consumption.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
Most of the time, high blood pressure has no symptoms, which is why it’s called the “silent killer.” You might look and feel healthy, but you won’t know if you have high blood pressure unless you have it measured. Starting at age 20, the American Heart Association recommends having a blood pressure screening at your regular healthcare visit or once every two years, if your blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg.

What do blood pressure readings mean?

Blood Pressure
Category
Systolic
mm Hg (upper #)
Diastolic
mm Hg (lower #)
Normal less than 120 and less than 80
Prehypertension 120139 or 8089
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
140159 or 9099
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higher or 100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180 or Higher than 110

Are my children at risk?
Although many people don’t realize it, children can have high blood pressure too. It can be caused by certain diseases and medications, or by family history, race or excess weight. Latino children are more likely to be overweight or obese and less likely to be physically active than some other groups. Parents need to take steps to instill a healthy foundation early in their children’s lives. The American Heart Association recommends that all children have their blood pressure checked every year.

How can I control my blood pressure?
You can find information on how to manage your lifestyle on our Vida Saludable website. Getting a balanced diet and regular exercise and eliminating unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking will go a long way in controlling your blood pressure. But as mentioned above, some risk factors are out of your control. It’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly and to discuss how to manage it with your doctor.

For more information on blood pressure, visit heart.org/hbp.

Health Lesson – Own It

Call to Action

Control your blood pressure.
Blood pressure is important to you—and those you care about. Everyone is touched by it. This lesson offers help for those who:

  • May be at risk for high blood pressure.
  • Have high blood pressure.
  • Know people with high blood pressure.
  • Care for people with high blood pressure.

English

Presentation
Presentation with presenter notes
Lesson Plan
Resource List
Ambassador Questionnaire (online)
Ambassador Questionnaire (printable)

Spanish

Presentation
Presentation with presenter notes
Lesson Plan
Ambassador Questionnaire (online)
Ambassador Questionnaire (printable)