Roughly one in every four American adults battle high blood pressure, or hypertension, on a day-to-day basis, and those numbers are steadily on the rise. For some, the disease will stem from genetics, but ultimately its lifestyle choices that will play the most significant role in determining an individual’s chances of being prescribed blood pressure medication, especially if he/she is maintaining a daily blood pressure reading of 140/90 or higher.
With elevated blood pressure, you are risking the likelihood of developing heart disease and kidney disease or suffering from a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure. While medication is probably the most crucial component to managing hypertension, there are also ways you can keep your blood pressure in check simply by changing your lifestyle habits.
Lifestyle Change Strategies
One of the many reasons hypertension is so deadly is because it often comes with no warning signs. This is why purchasing a blood pressure monitor and using it daily is paramount toward your success with hypertension management. The following lifestyle changes will also help:
1. Lose weight
Undoubtedly, losing weight is one of the most effective ways of reducing blood pressure, since excess weight increases your chances of developing other conditions, like sleep apnea, which has been shown to raise blood pressure. Even by losing just 10% of your weight, you will significantly reduce your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. As you lose the weight, keep tabs on your waistline measurement. Studies have shown repeatedly that the circumference of a person’s waist plays a vital part in maintaining normal blood pressure. Men should strive to keep their waist measurement below 40 inches while women should aim for a number less than 35 inches.
2. Follow a healthy diet
Not only is eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats ideal for lowering blood pressure, but it’s a wise choice for every individual in general. A good way to adopt a healthy eating plan is to record everything you eat in a food diary, which will keep you honest and on track while changing your eating habits. Make a note of the areas where you can improve and seek out healthier food options. Strive for items with lower sodium content. Remove the salt shaker from your dining area. By doing a search on-line, you can find healthier salt substitutes that won’t interfere with your regimen.
3. Start exercising
Thirty minutes of regular activity on most days of the week will go a long way in helping you lower your blood pressure and maintain it. Some of the best types of activity include jogging, walking, swimming, and cycling, but make it a point to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
4. Kick the habit
Did you know that each cigarette you smoke greatly increases your blood pressure for several minutes after you finish? Just by quitting smoking you will substantially lengthen your life span.
Although managing blood pressure might seem like a daunting task in the beginning, the longer life expectancy you gain is certainly worth the effort, not only for you but for your loved ones also.