One out of every three Americans has high blood pressure, and yet only half control the disease. While high blood pressure may not have symptoms in the early stages, but prolonged disease can lead to life-threatening complications such as strokes and heart attacks.
The good news is high blood pressure isn’t permanent. In fact, you can lower your blood pressure without making significant sacrifices. Since these changes promote better health, they can also assist with the treatment and prevention of other diseases.
If you have high blood pressure, a better, longer life is only a few changes away. Here are the seven major tips for regulating your blood pressure.
1. Control Sodium Consumption
Many Americans are salt sensitive, which is to say that ingesting sodium increases their blood pressure. Even worse, the vast majority of Americans consume well over the recommended amount.
If you have high blood pressure, the best thing you can do is curb your sodium consumption. Avoid takeout and processed foods, as these are pumped full of sodium.
Get into the habit of reading nutritional labels on all your foods before chowing down. You may be surprised at what you find.
Most professionals suggest consuming no more than 2,300 mg of sodium every day. But if you have high blood pressure or even hypertension, it’s a good idea to step down to 1,500 mg for the best results.
2. Manage Stress
Stress is an important part of our daily lives. It gives us the compulsion we need to consider the outcomes of present and future actions. But for some people, especially those in high-stress jobs or with a genetic predisposition, stress can cause serious physical harm.
Nowhere is that more clear than with blood pressure. Sometimes, stress alone can account for hypertension or even stage one high blood pressure.
For that reason, it’s important to take charge of your mental health. Try new, creative ways to destress throughout the day. Yoga, baths, and walks are common physical outlets of stress relief.
If this isn’t enough, look for ways to reduce stress throughout your life, such as changing employment.
3. Maintain a Healthy BMI
There is a well-established link between weight and blood pressure. They both increase together. Obesity can also cause other blood pressure complications, such as sleep apnea.
In addition to controlling your sodium consumption, losing your weight if you’re overweight will have a significant impact on your cardiovascular health.
The jury is out on how much weight loss leads to measurable results, but you’re looking at anywhere from about 2 pounds to 10 pounds.
That’s not too hard to shave off, especially not if you engage in our next blood pressure control tip.
4. Start Exercising
Exercise seems to cure anything that ails you. Maybe that’s because so much of your body relies on your heart.
Remember that your heart is a muscle. By exercising, you increase its strength so it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep blood flowing along. With less work comes less pressure, as well as a reduction and prevention in plaque build-up.
How much exercise is enough? Start simple with walks and moderate activity, such as gardening. If you’re already in decent shape, make a habit of working out about 40 minutes a day, four times a week.
Aerobic exercise such as jogging or cycling can get the heart pumping, but even strength resistance training will lower your blood pressure.
If you’re dizzy or light-headed while exercising, this is actually one of many low blood pressure symptoms. Make sure you have a medical professional check your blood pressure if you haven’t already.
5. Sleep Easy
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’re putting yourself through worse than a woozy day. Researchers still don’t understand everything about sleep, but countless studies have shown a clear association between the lack of sleep and serious diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Sleep deprivation causes more serious effects for adults middle-aged and older. If you already have hypertension or high blood pressure, getting enough sleep probably won’t bring you to healthy levels. However, it can cause noticeable effects, and more importantly, it will reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure again in the future.
6. Kick the Habit
Some research suggests that a very small amount of alcohol can be helpful for your blood pressure, as well as other health indicators. But the reality is almost no one drinks the type or amount of alcohol required for these health benefits.
They always go well over. Moderate alcohol consumption constricts your blood vessels, increasing your blood pressure. That’s why it’s better to avoid alcohol in the first place.
If you drink alcohol regularly, it’s no surprise you’ll always have elevated blood pressure.
Smoking, too, creates a temporary elevation in blood pressure. But not all smoking damage is temporary. Many studies show that smoking leads to cardiovascular complications such as heart disease, which can have a negative impact on your blood pressure and health.
7. Work With Your Doctor
When you’re first diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may be hesitant to prescribe medication unless you’re in dire straits. That’s because the previous tips should naturally regulate your blood pressure without any complications that come along with medication.
Unfortunately, some people may struggle with the aforementioned regulation tips, while others may have a genetic predisposition that requires medication to remain regular. Be honest with yourself and try to make healthy changes for the best results.
If these aren’t getting the job done, then work with your doctor and discuss the possibility of taking prescription medication.
Managing your Blood Pressure
If you’ve lived a relatively unhealthy life, learning to regulate your blood pressure can be an intimidating task. But it can be done.
The tips we’ve outlined will not only reduce your blood pressure but also foster a healthier lifestyle. In turn, you’ll enjoy a more fulfilling, comfortable life, with fewer medical complications. Take your diagnosis as an opportunity to learn how to live better, longer, and healthier. Looking for more health and fitness advice? Stay tuned into our website.