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The City Journals

Happy Healthy Holladay Kicks Off With Lecture on Reducing High Blood Pressure

Mar 09, 2016 12:17PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Cottonwood - Holladay - At the inaugural Happy Healthy Holladay lecture series on Thursday, Feb. 11, Holladay residents learned about heart health, specifically about the dangers of high blood pressure and ways to reduce it. Viet Le, a researcher at the Intermountain Heart Institute shared his knowledge of the heart and blood pressure at the Holladay Library.

Le explained having a healthy blood pressure matters by relating it back to the water pipes in a home. If the water pressure is too low, the system isn’t going to work well. Vice versa, if the pressure is too high, pipes are going to burst or appliances, such as dishwashers are going to burst. Le said the cardiovascular system works the same way.

“We care about blood pressure because it can affect major organs,” said Le.

Le said for the general public, the goal for blood pressure is having a systolic blood pressure of 120 or less and a diastolic blood pressure of 80 or less. 

“We start to worry at 140 to 159 systolic or 90 to 99 diastolic,” said Le.

While there are several different kinds of medications that can reduce blood pressure, Le explained there are many different lifestyle changes that can also reduce blood pressure. 

“The key is a healthy lifestyle,” said Le. “Anywhere we’re at, we can do better. This should be a lifestyle goal.”

The first thing someone can do to reduce their blood pressure is to lose weight. Losing as little as 10 pounds is enough to lower blood pressure, according to Le.

The next thing people can do is eat healthy. While Le advised anyone should talk to a dietician before making drastic changes, the main advice he gave was to eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein. People should also eat less saturated fats and sugars. 

A major part of heart healthy eating is avoiding salt as much as possible. An adult only needs between one half and three-fourths teaspoon of salt per day. 

“We probably add a little too much,” said Le. 

The next topic Le touched on was physical exercise. He recommended people do 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week or 25 minutes of vigorous exercise three days a week with two days of strength training. He emphasized the strength training for women especially, saying they typically don’t do enough. While the idea of 30 minutes for five days may seem daunting, Le said people can break it up into three 10 minute intervals.

Le explained the FITT principle for exercise: frequency, intensity, time and type. When someone is first starting out with exercising, it’s important to go slow and only change one or two of those items at a time. 

“Start low, increase slow, but go,” said Le. 

The last item Le touched on was alcohol and tobacco. Adults should drink alcohol sparingly. For a male, this means one to two drinks a day. For a female, this means one per day. And as for tobacco, it should be avoided all together.

“It is the single most preventable cause of death,” said Le.

This lecture was the first in a series of lectures hosted by Holladay at the library. City Councilmember Pat Pignanelli explained when she was first elected to the council, she began walking for exercise. Four or five years ago, she and her husband were visiting New York City. Once morning, she went out to take her walk and she noticed Times Square was shut down for a huge crowd doing yoga. This had an impression on Pignanelli.

“I want this is my city,” she said. 

She began to reach out to residents to begin presenting different topics about health and well being. 

“It’s never been huge but it’s developed into other topics,” said Pignanelli.

The monthly lectures will cover a broad range of topics including financial health, emergency preparedness and outdoor activities. 

“We’re learning what people need,” said Pignanelli. “We just want to be Happy, Healthy Holladay.”

The next lecture will be at noon on March 24 at the Holladay Library. The topic will be how to prevent identity theft.