When it comes to managing high blood pressure, medication is not the only way to go about it. If you, like many others, do not prefer relying on prescription medication to bring blood pressure down, making lifestyle changes can do wonders. In fact, lifestyle is a significant contributing factor to the development of high blood pressure.
Here are some lifestyle changes that can help you manage high blood pressure. For many, these changes have helped reduce or completely eliminate the need for high blood pressure medication.
It’s no secret that losing weight can reduce your systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In fact, for every two pounds you lose, you also reduce your systolic pressure by at least 1 millimeter of mercury. A growing waistline is a risk factor for high blood pressure. Men with waistlines over 40 inches are at risk as well as women with waistlines over 35 inches. Just losing 10 pounds can have a dramatic effect on your blood pressure.
Cut Sodium Intake
Sodium can increase blood pressure. The American diet is high in sodium due to our preference for processed and fast foods. Watch your sodium intake and make sure not to go over your recommended daily limit. When you shop for food, read the nutrition labels. Ultimately, it’s best to cook your own food, so you can control how much salt is in your meal. Cheese, pizza, cured meats, potato fries, processed foods, and sauces are examples of foods that contain high amounts of sodium.
When you exercise, you are training your heart to pump blood efficiently. Less pressure building on your arteries lowers blood pressure. You do not have to sign up for an intensive exercise program to make a difference in your blood pressure. Just 30 minutes of walking every day can do wonders for your blood pressure. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring, you can dance, play with your dog or kids, bike, or go hiking – anything that gets your heart pumping is good.
Drink Less Alcohol
If you must drink alcohol, aim for moderation and do not go beyond two drinks a day. Drinking often and over the recommended limit can raise your blood pressure. Moderate drinking can reduce systolic blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg.
Reduce Stress Levels
There is a link between high-stress levels and high blood pressure. Stress can cause your blood vessels to constrict, which can cause a spike in your blood pressure. There are ways to reduce stress levels such as exercising, doing something you love, getting plenty of sleep, and mindfulness exercises, such as yoga and meditation. It is in your best interest to keep your stress in check. Make it a priority just as you would for eating or sleeping.
High Blood Pressure Management in Tucson, Arizona
If you are looking for a primary care doctor who can help manage your blood pressure and oversee your health, Dr. Robert Lending, MD is here to help.
Dr. Lending is a board-certified internal medicine doctor and clinical lipidologist who sees to it that you get highly personalized medical care. For your convenience, he also provides concierge medicine to his patients so he can be there whenever you need him.