As the heart beats, it pumps blood through the body, supplying the body with the oxygen it needs to function. When blood moves through the veins, it pushes against the sides of blood vessels, causing pressure. The strength of this pressure is known as blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is when this pushing force is too strong. Approximately 100 million Americans have hypertension. And this condition shouldn’t be ignored. Hypertension can eventually cause serious health problems, such as heart diseases or heart attacks.
Blood pressure in the range of 180 systolic and more than 120 diastolic is considered to be high. Luckily, there are simple lifestyle changes you can make that can significantly reduce your blood pressure.
1. Up the Exercise
Exercise and physical activity, over time, allow your heart to grow stronger by increasing your heart and breathing rates. A stronger heart can pump blood with less effort, putting less pressure on your arteries, and lowering pressure.
Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Make your goals achievable, starting with walking if needed and moving onto more rigorous activities. However, you’ll need to be consistent, as blood pressure can rise again if you stop exercising.
2. Work on Losing Extra Weight
If you’re overweight, losing as little as five to ten pounds can help to reduce your blood pressure. For most adults, every 2.2 pounds lost reduces blood pressure by about one millimeter of mercury (mm Hg).
Small diet changes and an increase in physical activity can result in quick but healthy weight loss.
3. Be Conscious of What You Eat and Stick to a Diet
An individual’s diet and their high blood pressure are closely tied together. In general, reducing refined carbs, sodium, processed foods, and sugar can help people lose weight and lower their blood pressure.
Additionally, individuals should try to increase their potassium intake. Potassium lessens the impact of salt in our systems and eases tension in our blood vessels. Some healthy foods that are high in potassium are bananas, low-fat yogurt, avocados, oranges, potatoes, and spinach.
As much as possible, try to eat natural foods and get your full servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
4. Find Ways to Reduce Stress
There are some connections between stress and high blood pressure. The stress hormones in our body can constrict our blood vessels, causing an increase in blood pressure. Or, some people cope with stress with unhealthy habits such as eating unhealthy foods, which in turn increases blood pressure.
While it may be impossible to remove all the stress from your life completely, there are actions you can take to reduce stress. You can try meditation, yoga, reading, going to a spa, or going for a walk in nature. Find the method that works for you and try to incorporate it into your regular routines as much as possible.
5. Get Regular Sleep
For most people, blood pressure lowers while we sleep. Studies show that people who have issues getting a night of restful sleep are more prone to high blood pressure.
You can try to improve your sleep by listening to ocean noises, purchasing black-out curtains, or cutting out naps. As much as possible, aim for eight hours of sleep per day.
6. Quit Smoking
Smoking is terrible for your health overall. And smoking is especially harmful to those with high blood pressure. While smoking a cigarette, the body experiences a temporary increase in blood pressure. In the long-term, smoking causes damage to the heart and arteries, which can result in high blood pressure.
The journey to quit smoking looks different for everyone. Some people pick up a new hobby, write a list of why they want to quit or read self-help books.
7. Limit Your Alcohol
You don’t need to give up alcohol, but too much liquor can increase your blood pressure, even in healthy people. Women should limit their consumption to one drink per day, and men should limit to two.
8. Try Weightlifting
Weighlifting is an excellent option to help you stay fit and lose weight. For women, especially, weightlifting can be incredibly beneficial. As women age, they tend to lose muscle mass slowly. Weightlifting will keep you feeling strong, fit, and healthy.
About Diamond Physicians
If you suspect you have high blood pressure, you should consult with a doctor immediately. Depending on your situation, medication may be necessary to help reduce your risk of severe side effects. You should also consult with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle, to ensure there are no complications. For those in the Dallas Fort Worth Area, Diamond Physicians is a direct primary care provider accepting new patients. Contact us to make an appointment today to discuss your health.