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Your Blood Pressure IQ Can Determine Your Fitness Outlook

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Blood pressure cuff

Keeping your blood pressure under control is tremendously important to your overall health. Unfortunately, many people have heard the term high blood pressure or hypertension, but are not checking their blood pressure on a regular basis because they simply do not feel ill. As a result, many individuals do not take high blood pressure seriously and are not familiar with its dangers. How much do you know about high blood pressure? Have you had your blood pressure checked within the past year?

Take a moment to test your knowledge about hypertension by taking this quiz developed by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.


1. True/False - High blood pressure can strike at any age.

A. True
B. False

2. Which of the following remedies for relaxation has been shown by research to actually lower blood pressure?

A. Soaking in a hot tub
B. Enjoying a hot cup of coffee
C. Stroking a household pet (cat or dog)
D. All of the above

3. High blood pressure puts additional strain on which of the following body parts?

A. Heart
B. Kidneys
C. Blood vessels
D. All of the above

4. True/False - There is nothing you can do to prevent high blood pressure.

A. True
B. False

5. True/False - Stress causes high blood pressure.

A. True
B. False

6. What percentage of school age American children is estimated to have high blood pressure?

A. 0-1 percent
B. 2-5 percent
C. 6-8 percent
D. 10-15 percent

7. True/False - You have to exercise vigorously every day to improve your blood pressure and heart health.

A. True
B. False

8. Which of the following can temporarily raise your blood pressure?

A. Caffeinated coffee, tea or soda
B. Hot tubs, steam baths or saunas
C. A visit to the doctor's office
D. All of the above

9. True/False - Americans eat approximately two to three times more salt and sodium
than they need?

A. True
B. False


1. A. True. High blood pressure or hypertension can happen to anyone at any age.

2. C. Through years of research, stroking a pet has consistently been shown to lower blood pressure and maintain general health.

3. D. All of the above are strained when blood pressure is elevated. With high blood pressure, the heart works harder to pump blood, the vessels are stressed by the additional force with which the blood rushes through and the kidneys must work harder to expel excess water from the body in an attempt to reduce the volume of blood flowing through the body. Medications called diuretics can aid in the expulsion of excess water from the body and therefore, they are effective blood pressure medications.

4. B. False. High blood pressure can be prevented with four easy steps: maintain a healthy weight; become physically active; limit your salt and sodium use; and, if you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

5. B. False. Stress does make blood pressure go up, but only temporarily. Ups and downs in blood pressure are normal. Become angry with a family member and your pressure rises; go to sleep and it drops. Aggravating events tend to cause a temporary rise in blood pressure while relaxing events can lower pressure. The danger of blood pressure relates to chronic elevation. In the vast majority of cases, a single cause is never found.

6. D. The rates of high blood pressure are increasing as the number of overweight children is on the rise throughout the United States and other countries. One-third of children diagnosed with high blood pressure in childhood will also suffer from hypertension as an adult. As a result, these individuals will also suffer an increased risk for stroke and other serious health consequences.

7. B. False. Studies show even a small amount of physical activity helps prevent high blood pressure and strengthens your heart. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published a study in the October 2001 issue of its monthly journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, examining the effects of exercise and exercise combined with weight loss on both clinical and ambulatory blood pressure levels. The results indicate exercise, especially when combined with weight loss, can affect blood pressure even in stressful situations.

According to the National Institutes of Health, aerobic exercise reduces resting blood pressure in people who have hypertension by an average of 11 points off the top number and nine points off the bottom number. Even among the overweight, those who are active have lower blood pressures than those who are at their recommended weight and sedentary. Getting 30 to 45 minutes of physical activity four to five days per week is best and if you do not have a 30-minute time window, consider getting in short bouts of exercise throughout the day. Every bit helps—so make activity part of your daily routine.

8. D. All of the following can temporarily elevate your blood pressure. In fact, if your blood pressure temporarily rises just by being in the doctor's office, it is known as "white coat hypertension."

9. A. True. Americans eat way too much salt and sodium, and some individuals are especially sensitive to salt. Salt or sodium can result in water retention and increased blood pressure. Salt is made of sodium and chloride, and it is mostly the sodium that affects blood pressure. Salt is only one form of sodium—there are others. Therefore, it is important to watch salt and sodium intake when managing blood pressure.

According to American Heart Association, individuals should not consume more than 4,000 mg of sodium per day and those suffering from high blood pressure should limit their intake to less than or equal to 2,400 mg a day. Remember, processed foods, bottled sauces, dry mixes and numerous other products are loaded with salt and sodium. Also, consider removing the salt shaker from your table.