According to the CDC, almost half of all adults in the United States live with high blood pressure (hypertension). Of the adults in the US with high blood pressure, only about 1 in 4 have their condition under control. High blood pressure is the condition when the force of your blood moving against the walls of your blood vessels is consistently too high. If left unchecked, this condition can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and angina (ischemic chest pain/chest pain due to lack of blood flow to the heart).
What Should You Do About High Blood Pressure?
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to bring your high blood pressure back under control. There are treatments that are as easy as taking vitamins and as far reaching as reducing your stress levels. Here are some of the best ways to manage your high blood pressure that you can discuss with your physician…
14. Drink Less Alcohol
Just as with the rest of our lives, drinking alcohol is all about moderation. Why? Because higher amounts of alcohol intake can raise blood pressure.
Why Drinking Less Alcohol Helps
In addition to raising blood pressure on its own, alcohol can interact with many of today’s most common high blood pressure medications. When it does, it lowers their effectiveness and makes your body less able to handle high blood pressure.
Drinking too much alcohol is also associated with another common high blood pressure culprit: smoking…
13. Quit Smoking
There’s just about no health condition that quitting smoking can’t improve. When you quit smoking, you will see all kinds of health benefits that can all help lower your blood pressure.
Why Quitting Smoking Helps
Smoking cigarettes increases your blood pressure. Unfortunately, this increased blood pressure lasts for a while after you stop smoking. So, you will have to wait a little bit to see the positive benefits of smoking cessation on blood pressure. Quitting smoking also lowers your risk of stroke and heart attack, which are two common complications for people with high blood pressure.
Quitting smoking also opens the door to making other improvements to your lifestyle, such as improving your diet and getting more exercise…
12. Improve Your Diet
Your diet has a major impact on your overall health; there’s really no part of your body that your diet doesn’t have an impact on. Hypertension is yet another health condition that can be improved by making a few simple changes to your diet.
Why Improving Your Diet Helps
When you want to improve your diet to reduce high blood pressure, think heart healthy foods. Low sodium, low fat, with lots of fruits and vegetables will help your body get the nutrients it needs to stay healthy without taking on a lot of sugar, carbohydrates, and fats that can cause blood pressure to increase.
One of the biggest diet changes you can make? Lowering your sodium intake…
11. Lower Your Sodium Intake
Sodium is the classic culprit when it comes to high blood pressure. That means one of the most positive impacts you can make in managing blood pressure is controlling your sodium intake.
Why Lowering Your Sodium Intake Helps
Sodium is a hydrophilic substance, which means that it naturally draws in water. What this means for the body is that excess sodium can cause the body to retain water, which dramatically raises your blood pressure. Lowering your sodium is about more than saying no to table salt, though; it’s about checking food labels and avoiding processed foods to decrease your overall sodium intake. Sodium can sneak into some pretty unsuspecting places, so people watching their blood pressure need to exercise extra caution.
Just like with sodium, watching how much caffeine you drink can improve your high blood pressure, too…
10. Watch Your Caffeine Use
Caffeine certainly gets the heart pumping. If you have healthy blood pressure, caffeine can be a perfectly healthy way to start your day. However, for people trying to manage high blood pressure, too much caffeine can make things worse.
Why Watching Your Caffeine Use Helps
Caffeine naturally raises your blood pressure; too much caffeine can push your blood pressure dangerously high. This is especially true for people who are already trying to manage a higher-than-healthy blood pressure. Watch out for coffee, soda, and energy drinks that can come packed with caffeine and opt for decaf whenever possible.
Watching what you eat and drink is a part of watching your overall weight…
9. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Getting to a healthy weight for your body, age, and lifestyle is a great way to help reduce your blood pressure. Being overweight tends to contribute to a variety of negative health outcomes, and high blood pressure is no exception.
Why Maintaining a Healthy Weight Helps
A healthy weight helps blood pressure for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are indirect. Exercise and a good diet are part of weight loss and also help lower blood pressure on their own. Having a healthy weight also means your arteries will be healthier and you will lower your risk for heart- and blood-related medical conditions that complicate hypertension.
In order to get to a healthy weight, it’s a good idea to pick up regular exercise habits…
8. Regular Exercise
Getting your heart pumping is the secret to good health. Exercise not only helps your health all on its own, but it can also help correct other health problems that make managing high blood pressure more difficult.
Why Regular Exercise Helps
Exercise helps primarily by strengthening the heart and improving our overall health. When you work out, you are making your heart stronger, which gives it the edge it needs to improve your blood pressure. Exercise is also linked with a healthy diet and weight loss, which both improve blood pressure.
Regular exercise is also a great way to blow off some steam and reduce your stress, which is also key to managing this medical condition…
7. Reduce Stress
Stress is a leading cause of a variety of health problems, but one of the areas where we feel it the most is our hearts. Lowering your stress can therefore help with your blood pressure.
Why Reducing Stress Helps
Reducing your stress helps by lowering the amount of cortisol in the blood. Cortisol, the stress hormone, raises blood pressure. As such, reducing your levels of this hormone helps keep blood pressure down. Lowering stress also helps with other things, such as exercise and regular sleep.
In order to lower your stress levels, you can try anything from meditation to reaching out to family and friends…
6. Get Support from Family and Friends
Your family and friends are there to help you through tough times, which includes facing difficult medical conditions. There is a lot that the people close to you can do to help you lower your blood pressure.
Why Getting Support from Family and Friends Helps
When it comes to staying healthy, you don’t have to go it alone! You can reach out to your friends and family for support. This support can be anything from asking friends to help you quit smoking or going out to the gym with your friend who is into exercise. The people close to you can also help with stress reduction.
When you start to put all of these pieces together, you can improve other aspects of your life like your sleep, which significantly impacts your overall health…
5. Get Regular Sleep
Is there anything as refreshing as a good night’s sleep? Getting some quality rest helps lower your blood pressure, among many other health benefits.
Why Getting Regular Sleep Helps
Regular sleep can reduce your blood pressure and also reduce your odds of developing high blood pressure in the first place. A lack of sleep can lead to a buildup of stress hormones and contribute to other health problems. Regular sleep helps to combat this buildup, which puts you back on track for healthy blood pressure.
Just like sleep, other ways of relaxing can also help your blood pressure…
4. Meditation and Yoga
Meditation and yoga have plenty of health benefits, but for people with high blood pressure, it’s all about relaxation and exercise.
Why Meditation and Yoga Helps
Meditation and yoga both help to lower stress. These practices help your body work out stress and give you a sense of calm that can help with hypertension. Yoga is also a very physical and mental exercise that can help you work towards a healthy, stress-reducing exercise routine.
When you combine everything covered here so far, what you get is a picture of better overall health…
3. Watch Your Health
Your overall health contributes to your blood pressure. It’s important to make sure that you are also taking care of other health concerns in addition to working to manage your high blood pressure. In fact, many of these things go together.
Why Watching Your Health Helps
When your health takes a dive, you can expect your blood pressure to go up. This rise can be a direct result of the health condition or because of a secondary effect like stress, weight gain, or lack of exercise. Keep an eye on your overall health and your blood pressure just might start to go back down.
One way to boost your health is to make sure you are getting the nutrition that your body needs…
2. Try Natural Supplements and Vitamins
Natural supplements and vitamins can help with hypertension. These supplements range from some folk remedies that have been proven to help blood pressure to getting nutrients that combat high sodium intake.
Why Trying Natural Supplements and Vitamins Helps
Supplements like garlic have been connected to lower blood pressure. Adding a garlic supplement into your diet, or just eating more garlic, might help reduce blood pressure. Vitamins such as potassium naturally lower sodium in the bloodstream, which helps to bring down your blood pressure.
Of course, when in doubt, your doctor is always there to help…
1. Take Prescription Medications
Given how common high blood pressure is among adults in the United States, it’s no wonder that there are plenty of prescription drugs that can help bring it back down.
Why Prescription Medication Helps
Prescription medications are designed to lower your blood pressure. With the help of a doctor, you can find the blood pressure medication that is right for you and combine that with lifestyle changes to really bring your blood pressure back under control.
Restoring a healthy blood pressure is all about committing to a healthier tomorrow. Everything from quitting smoking to starting a meditation practice can bring your blood pressure back down as well as increase your overall quality of life.
Discuss these options with your healthcare provider and start working towards a healthier you!