Hypertension is a common and dangerous condition. Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. Having high blood pressure means the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be. But there are easy steps you can take for your hypertension prevention.
According to the CDC about 1 of 3 U.S. adults or about 75 million people—have hypertension. However, only about half (54%) of these people have their high blood pressure under control. Hypertension usually has no warning signs. But it can lead to life-threatening conditions such as heart attack or stroke.
Lifestyle plays an important role in hypertension prevention. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Hypertension prevention best tips
No matter your age, you can take steps each day to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range.
1. Lose extra weight
Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep which further raises your blood pressure. Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for hypertension prevention. Losing even a small amount of weight if you’re overweight or obese can help reduce your blood pressure. In general, you may reduce your blood pressure by about 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg) with each kilogram of weight you lose.
2. Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity such as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes most days of the week can lower your blood pressure. It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again. If you have elevated blood pressure, exercise can help you with hypertension prevention. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels. Some examples of aerobic exercise you may try to lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing.
3. Eat a healthy diet
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure. It isn’t easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet:
- Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why.
- Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements.
- Be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy-eating plan when you’re dining out, too.
4. Reduce sodium in your diet
Even a small reduction of salt in your diet can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure. The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure varies among groups of people. In general, limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less. However, a lower sodium intake 1,500 mg a day or less is ideal for most adults.
5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. By drinking alcohol only in moderation generally one drink a day for women, or two a day for men you can potentially lower your blood pressure. Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
6. Quit smoking
Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps with hypertension prevention. Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health. People who quit smoking may live longer than people who never quit smoking.
7. Managing stress
Learning how to relax and manage stress can improve your emotional and physical health. This also helps with hypertension prevention. It also lowers your blood pressure if you already have it. Stress management techniques include exercising, listening to music and meditating.
Take a look at your lifestyle habits. Decide where you can make changes to help with hypertension prevention. Conquer small goals, such as snacking on fruits and vegetables instead of junk food. Always continue to practice these good habits until they are a part of your daily routine.
Adopting these lifestyle changes can help with hypertension prevention. Thus if your blood pressure is currently under control or lead to lower blood pressure if your numbers are already elevated.