If you’ve recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure under the new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology you might be wondering what your next step is. The guidelines lowered the definition for high blood pressure to 130/80 from 140/90 millimeters and mercury (mmHg), meaning more people now meet the criteria for stage 1 hypertension.
Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your blood pressure.
If you control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle you might avoid, delay, or reduce the need for medication. Here are some lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down.
Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
– Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (Sleep apnea), which further raises your blood pressure.
– Losing even a small amount of weight if you’re overweight or obese can help reduce your blood pressure
-Regular physical activity such as 150 a week or about 30 minutes most days of the week
– Regular exercise can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mmHg
– If you have high blood pressure, it’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again
* If you have elevated blood pressure, exercise can help you avoid developing hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.
Eat a healthy diet
– Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products can lower your blood pressure. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
* Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, and time of day.
* Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that’s best for you. Be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy-eating plan, even when dining out.
Reduce Sodium in your diet
– Americans eat far too much dietary sodium, up to 3 times the recommended total amount, which is 1,500 milligrams (mg) daily for individuals with high blood pressure; that’s just 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt.
– Read food labels. If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives to the foods and beverages you normally buy.
– Eat fewer processed foods. Only a small amount of sodium occurs naturally in foods. Most sodium is added during processing.
– Don’t add salt. Just 1 teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Use herbs and spices to add flavor to your food.
– Ease into it. If you don’t feel you can drastically reduce the sodium in your diet suddenly, cut back gradually. Your palate will adjust over time.
Reduce The Stress In Your Life
Chronic stress may contribute to high blood pressure. Stress is a lifestyle factor and also a fact of fact. The emotional discomfort we feel when are faced with a stressful situation, our bodies react by releasing stress hormones ( adrenaline and cortisol ), into the blood. These hormones prepare the body making the heart beat faster and constricting blood vessels to get more blood to the core.
Take time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances, or illness. Once you know what’s causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.
Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. They may encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor’s office or embark on an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low.
If you find you need support beyond your family and friends, consider joining a support group. This may put you in touch with people who can give you an emotional or morale boost and who can offer practical tips to cope with your condition.
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