Many Americans struggle with high blood pressure without realizing it because it often presents with little to no symptoms. However, if left untreated, high blood pressure can drastically impact your cardiovascular system, increasing the risk of heart failure, heart attack, stroke, and much more.
If you have high blood pressure (or you want to keep yours low), check out these five tips to reduce your blood pressure.
1. Lose Excess Weight
Having excess weight puts more strain on your heart, which can increase blood pressure. On top of that, it can affect your health in many other ways by increasing your risk of:
- Coronary artery disease
- Cardiovascular death
Losing weight in a healthy way can help naturally lower your blood pressure. Much of losing excess weight involves changing your diet. Your doctor can also help determine a healthy caloric deficient for your health and goals.
2. Change Your Diet
If you have high blood pressure, one of the most important things is to cut down on sodium (salt). Not only does this mean using less table salt, but you should also limit foods with lots of salt, including:
- Fast food
- Canned/frozen foods
- Processed foods
- Deli meats
Foods high in saturated and trans fat can also increase your risk of high blood pressure. Not only does this include fast food, but it also includes red meats. Plus, these foods can affect your cardiovascular health in other ways by causing blockages and damaging arteries.
Changing your diet can also help you lose weight. Ideally, choose a diet heavy in fruits and vegetables. Pick lean proteins and complex carbohydrates, and drink plenty of water.
3. Get Active
Getting active is great for making your heart work hard. This helps boost overall health and may lower your blood pressure. Naturally, getting active can also help reduce the risk of obesity. Ideally, you should get about 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day to maintain your health. However, if you want to lose weight, you may need to exercise more or at a higher intensity.
Before you start any new exercise regiment, talk with your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to start. You may need to start slow and work up to a higher intensity or longer duration. Your doctor may also suggest exercises that are ideal for your personal health. For example, if you have arthritis in the knee, running isn’t a great idea, but your doctor may recommend swimming.
4. Cut Out Bad Habits
Many humans have bad habits, but there are some that can drastically impact your blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health. For example, smoking tobacco is a risk factor for a host of health issues, including high blood pressure. So if you smoke, you should make every effort to stop.
In addition, cut out or cut down on how much alcohol you consume. Not only will this help keep off the extra pounds, but it is better for your overall health.
While less dangerous, caffeine can also impact your blood pressure. Caffeine narrows your blood vessels. This forces the blood to push harder to move through your body and boosts your blood pressure.
5. Manage Stress
Experts are still unsure if there is a direct link to stress and high blood pressure. It does seem to increase your blood pressure temporarily, but the blood pressure quickly returns to its baseline setting. However, stress can increase your risk of behaviors that will impact your blood pressure, including the behaviors mentioned in this article.
If you have high blood pressure, don’t wait any longer. The longer your blood pressure is left unchecked, the more it can impact your health. If you would like to know more, or you think you need cardiovascular services, contact us at the Cardio Vascular Institute.