High blood pressure affects about 70 million American adults every year. Genetics, stress levels, and lifestyle contribute to high blood pressure. Untreated, elevated blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, damage to the heart, and poor circulation.
It can be daunting to address elevated blood pressure on a day-to-day basis. Many medications come with unpleasant side effects. This leaves some patients longing for a more natural approach. Never stop taking any medication before consulting your doctor. However, it is important to know that you can control some of high blood pressure’s contributing factors. These easy-to-make changes can positively impact your life.
In many patients, blood pressure and weight go hand in hand. The Mayo Clinic states that 10 pounds of weight loss can significantly contribute to lowering blood pressure. Ask your doctor if your waistline is healthy.
A balanced diet is a great road to heart health. The DASH (dietary approach to stop hypertension) plan is often recommended; this low-fat high-potassium diet encourages consumption of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Cutting out sodium, alcohol, and caffeine are also fantastic steps.
Doctors recommend 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. The Mayo Clinic suggests walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and dancing as excellent ways to work out. Whether looking to avoid high blood pressure or reduce already elevated levels, a little exercise goes a long way.
Stress is a major cause of high blood pressure. Heart.org recommends simple things you can do to reduce stressors, such as leaving enough time in your day for every task. Recognizing what you can control and planning accordingly can make a huge difference in your mood. It is also important to note things that make you happy. Make space in life for mood-enhancing activities.
Regular check-ins with your doctor or home monitoring are highly recommended. Knowledge is power. By staying on top of your readings, you can gauge which practices work for you.