When it comes to high blood pressure, even one small change could save your life

Hypertension & Holidays: what you need to know
Posted at 6:04 AM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-15 06:55:37-05

Creating a healthy lifestyle isn’t always the challenge, sustaining and maintaining it often times is -  especially when it comes to managing serious conditions like hypertension. 

Studies show high blood pressure is the leading cause of death worldwide, with close to 80 million Americans suffering from it daily. That said, it's also the second-leading cause of preventable death here in the United States - which means you can help yourself - even over the holidays.

Dr. Raul Vazquez opened Urban Family Practice on Niagara Street in Buffalo over 20 years ago. As a family doctor, his goal was to treat families - especially families in his neighborhood that were struggling to afford necessary care. 
“I opened up here, because this is where the need is. A big percentage of my patient-base is African-American and Hispanic - look where we are, this is where the need is. Two decades later, we’re stronger than ever, offering even more services and changing even more lives, he said.”
As the CEO of GBUAHN, The Greater Buffalo United Association Healthcare Network, Dr. Vazquez and his partners designed an affordable, wholesome, person-to-person system of care.
Their goal? To help people understand the importance of overall wellness, education, and care coordination. Paired with the integration of medical and behavioral health. Everyday they meet different people with an array of chronic illnesses throughout the community. 
“It’s all about a lifestyle change, " Dana Ingerbretson said. As a registered dietician at GBAUHN, she helps patients  swap and switch.
"It's about understanding the effects positive changes can have on your overall health and wellness. Understanding that if not managed, you can and will die from over working your heart and mistreating it, “ she emphasized.
So over the holidays what can you do? To help yourself manage?
Cut back on alcohol, before heading to a party grab a big glass of water and a healthy snack, load up on the veggie apps and not the carbs. 
Then there's exercise. Throw on a jacket and go for a brisk walk, opt for lighter meals overall, less salt, and one less cup of coffee - these are all doable, bit by bit, Ingerbretson emphasized.
If you know high blood pressure runs in your family, maybe you’re overweight and have concerns -  start somewhere. 
For a list of some helpful lifestyle and home remedies, visit this listof patient suggestions by the Mayo Clinic.
For more information on GBUAHN, its providers, services and programs, be sure to visit the website.