With 75 million adults in the U.S. currently diagnosed, high blood pressure (HBP) is quite common. HBP occurs when blood flows through the veins at a high rate of pressure and is often referred to as hypertension. Nicknamed the “silent killer,” HBP tends to have no symptoms and often goes unnoticed. However, if not treated, high blood pressure can lead to a number of serious health problems. Medication is almost always an option to lower your blood pressure, but there are also many additional ways to bring your blood pressure down. Your lifestyle plays a large role when it comes to treating HBP. With a healthy lifestyle, you might reduce, delay, or even avoid the need for medication.
Here are 7 lifestyle changes you can make in order to get high blood pressure numbers down.
Regular exercise is beneficial for anyone and everyone, but it can be especially beneficial for those who suffer from high blood pressure. Regular exercise keeps your heart healthy and strong, thus, lowering your blood pressure. Additionally, stress is yet another factor in high blood pressure, and exercise has been found to be a natural stress reliever.
- Change Your Diet
A diet that is rich in whole grains, fiber, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products can aid in lowering your blood pressure. Whereas diets high in fatty and sodium-rich foods can be detrimental.
- Maintain Your Weight
A healthy weight reduces the amount of strain on your heart.
- Be Mindful of Your Sodium Intake
Even a small reduction in sodium can lower your blood pressure 5 to 6 mm Hg. The effect of sodium intake varies from person to person, but a general rule of thumb is to limit sodium to about 2,300 milligrams a day or less. However, 1,500 milligrams a day or less is ideal for most adults. Choosing low or no sodium options will allow you to reduce sodium intake.
- Reduce Your Stress
Think about what causes you to feel stress — possibly work, family or finances. Once you know the root of your stress, find better ways to manage it such as meditating, taking up a hobby, exercising, making positive changes in those areas, etc.
- Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can significantly raise your blood pressure. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
- Quit Smoking
In addition to health benefits, such as healthier lungs and lower chances of developing heart disease, the suspension of smoking has great effects on lowering blood pressure.
Why Lowering Your Blood Pressure Matters
High blood pressure can lead to:
- Kidney damage
- Damage to the heart and arteries
- Memory loss
- Vision loss
- Peripheral Artery Disease
Over time, if gone untreated, high blood pressure can lead to serious health complications. Due to the symptoms often going unnoticed, it is important to visit your primary care doctor on a regular basis. For quick diagnostic testing, including if your blood pressure is abnormal, visit a First Care Clinic near you.