Are you concerned about high blood pressure (hypertension) or worried about an older loved one suffering from a heart attack or stroke as a result? Well, the truth is, hypertension is a silent killer that can damage blood vessels and trigger severe health problems. While it has no cure, you can embrace lifestyle changes and use medications to reduce the risk of linked illnesses, such as kidney disease and heart disease, among others. Here, we tell you some of the most effective ways of keeping your blood pressure on track.
Watch your Scale
An increase in blood pressure can be triggered by extra pounds, according to many studies. Excess weight can also interfere with your sleep and cause sleep apnea, which can, in turn, raise blood pressure. This means that losing weight is an effective proactive measure for controlling hypertension. Generally, by losing a kilogram, you will reduce your blood pressure by 1 mmHg. You’ll also want to keep your waistline in check. Too much fat around this area can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure. If you are a man and your waist measures more than 102 centimeters, you are at risk. For women, the waist should not be more than 89 centimeters.
Eat a Healthy Diet
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, you should eat a diet rich in low-fat dairy, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. These are all loaded with minerals, vitamins, and essential nutrients that keep your blood pressure levels down. BP is best controlled by foods rich in magnesium, fiber, and potassium. On the other hand, you want to avoid trans fats, cholesterol, saturated fats, and excess salt which could raise the pressure levels. They do so by increasing the build-up of plaque in blood vessels. Instead, choose heart-healthy fats, such as olive oil. These fats boost good cholesterol, and could minimize the build-up of plaque.
A brisk walk every day or swimming, jogging, biking, dancing, or engaging in active sports can lower your blood pressure by about 8 mmHg, so try to follow the NHS guidelines on exercise. Be consistent to prevent your pressure from spiking. Note; regular exercise keeps the heart healthy. A strong heart tends to pump a higher amount of blood with less effort. When your heart works less to distribute blood to the rest of your body, the activities of the arteries decrease, thereby lowering the pressure. Exercising regularly can also help you manage your weight, which is crucial to retaining a healthy level of blood pressure. If you are just starting to exercise, it may take about a month to see the impact of it.
Take Medications as Advised
Given that hypertension is a major trigger for other illnesses, it is vital to have it controlled. If you have consistent high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medications to keep it steady. However, when it is a one-off high reading, your doctor may suspect white coat syndrome, and have your pressure taken after some time before giving a prescription. The other option would be to offer you a 24-hour hypertension monitor to check your readings from home.
Once it is clear that you have a consistent spike in blood pressure, certain medications may be offered. The medicines available for this purpose are found in many varieties, and only your doctor knows the best option for your case. The good thing about medication is that it acts as a guarantee against catastrophic illnesses, such as stroke. Your lifestyle, ethnicity, and age will be a guiding factor to the right drugs for you.
Hypertension can respond to stress and take an upward curve. Practice stress management techniques, such as listening to soothing music, yoga, and nature walking, or any other practice that feels effective.
High blood pressure is something you cannot ignore. Familiarize yourself with your BP numbers and get recommendations from your healthcare provider. Should your doctor recommend medication, do not skip that hoping you can fix the problem through exercise and a proper diet. In some cases, lifestyle changes alone are not effective.