5 Ways to Take Control of Your Blood Pressure
Are you feeling the pressure? Blood pressure, that is. High blood pressure can contribute to serious health problems like strokes and heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure.
Many people take prescription medications to regulate their blood pressure, but you may be able to get your blood pressure under control without medicine. Talk to your doctor, and try these 5 suggestions.
You can buy a home blood pressure monitor at most drugstores, and you can use this to keep track of your blood pressure without having to visit the doctor. Many monitors will keep a list of your blood pressure readings for you.
Take your blood pressure at the same time each day. Try taking it more than once a day for even more information. Record the date, time of day and your blood pressure readings. Also record what you’ve eaten, whether you’ve exercised and if you are experiencing particularly high amounts of stress.
Over time you will have a clear pictures of your blood pressure trends, and you may be able to determine details like activities you engaged in or foods you ate that caused your blood pressure to either shoot up or remain stable.
Regular exercise can cause your blood pressure to drop dramatically. Try to get in some aerobic activity each day. An hour’s worth of exercise five days a week is excellent, but don’t give up if you have to do less. Even a 20 minute walk is better than nothing.
Look for ways to incorporate movement into your life in small ways. For example, take your dog on longer walks each day, use the stairs at the office instead of the elevator or park further away from entrances everywhere you go. These little changes can add up to a healthier way of life.
Drop the Salt
Sodium consumption is not good for blood pressure. Pay careful attention to the amount of salt you eat, including both what you add to your food and what already existed there.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume less than 1500 milligrams of salt each day. Most Americans consume about 3400 milligrams.
Many packaged foods include far too much salt, so check the nutritional details before you buy frozen meals, canned soups or anything that has already been prepared. Also beware of excess salt in meals served at restaurants.
Just add blood pressure control to the list of many reasons to quit smoking. Each time you take a puff of nicotine, your heart rate and blood pressure increase. At the same time, your arteries constrict, causing the perfect conditions for a stroke or heart attack.
Talk to your doctor about trying to quit, or consider an at home program.
Control Your Stress
If you struggle with high blood pressure, you’ll want to give some thought to how you manage stress. Stress can send your blood pressure shooting through the roof. That’s why it tends to be higher when taken in a high stress situation like at a doctor’s office or in the hospital.
The pressures of every day life can have your blood pumping at continuously dangerous levels. Take some time each day to relax and allow your body to calm down. Here are some more suggestions for controlling your stress.
Practice yoga or meditation.
Go for a walk.
Make time for hobbies and activities you enjoy.
Say no to activities you cannot fit into your schedule.
Talk about your problems with a caring friend.
Consult with your doctor about your high blood pressure and whether or not you should attempt to control it without medication, and use these five tips to help you get your blood pressure under control and get you on the road to a healthier life.