American Heart Month 2021 Highlights Managing Hypertension

Each year the United States recognizes February as American Heart Month. The focus of this year’s celebration is hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. It’s important to manage hypertension because uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and other undesirable conditions. Making the following lifestyle changes can help you manage your hypertension.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

A body mass index (BMI) in the range of 18.5 to 24.9 is associated with a healthy weight for an adult. Although your primary care provider can help you determine your ideal weight, the good news for people with a BMI over 24.9 is losing as little as ten pounds may decrease your blood pressure. 

Commit to Heart-Healthy Eating

A heart-healthy eating plan emphasizes the consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. Limiting the consumption of salt, trans fats, and saturated fat is also necessary. Although there are a number of heart-healthy eating plans, experts created the DASH eating plan to help people lower their blood pressure.

Exercise Regularly

Even moderate amounts of physical activity can reduce blood pressure. A study found getting just 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each week can lower blood pressure. However, researchers saw a greater reduction in blood pressure for study participants who were physically active 61 to 90 minutes per week. If you’re currently sedentary, it’s fine to begin exercising a few minutes a week as long as you gradually increase the time you exercise. Also, it’s always best to speak with your primary care provider before starting an exercise program.

Stop Smoking

Smoking raises your blood pressure. Smokers who are ready to quit may want to join a smoking cessation program for support. 

Modifying your lifestyle to manage hypertension can be a literal lifesaver. American Heart Month is the perfect time to make keeping hypertension under control a priority. Contact us today to learn more.