Habits to beat hypertension, heart disease
Editor's Note: At 2:30 p.m. EDT Saturdays on "Your Health," Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers medical questions submitted by e-mail. The questions and answers are available on CNN.com after the show.
Q: Can stress cause hypertension? -- Sunil in Dallas, Texas
A: Stress can have a lot of negative effects on the body. The factors that lead directly to hypertension are unclear.
Hypertension -- also known as high blood pressure -- has been associated with stress and heart disease. More research needs to be done to pinpoint exactly the harm of stress on the heart.
We do know that stress brings about a lot of bad habits like unhealthy eating, smoking and drinking that can all lead to heart disease. When discussing hypertension with patients, the issue at hand is to deal with lifestyle changes that contribute to heart disease and stroke.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with stroke being third. The best advice I can give to lower your blood pressure is to eat right, exercise, maintain a healthy weight and lower your stress.
Q: Do diabetics have a higher risk of getting heart disease? -- Rani Patel
A: Heart disease is more common in people with diabetes than in people without diabetes. Diabetics tend to have more fat and cholesterol in their arteries that may build up, causing the arteries and heart to work harder. Over time, this extra work can lead to a heart attack.
Diabetics are also at greater risk for stroke and peripheral vascular disease. The risk of heart disease can be reduced by diabetics and nondiabetics by eating a diet low in fat, not smoking and getting regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks.
"Ask Dr. Gupta" is not intended to address specific questions concerning individual cases. CNN does not directly or indirectly practice medicine or provide medical advice, and nothing contained in the responses of CNN through its correspondents is a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always contact your doctor if you need medical advice or treatment, or have any questions regarding a medical condition.
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