Controlling High Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure is a very commonly occurring condition affecting half of American adults.

Also referred to as hypertension, this medical issue is characterized by an increased force of blood flow in the body. High blood pressure can damage arteries and blood vessels, potentially damaging the heart and brain. Additionally, vision and kidney function can be severely impaired by this condition.

Your family medical history may demonstrate a predisposition to high blood pressure. However, many lifestyle changes can improve this condition and prevent additional health issues. Avoiding certain foods, integrating nutritious meals into your diet and exercising daily can dramatically improve artery function and lower pressure. Learn about the best practices for managing high blood pressure to implement in your everyday life using the following information.

Monitor Blood Pressure Regularly

Keeping track of your systolic and diastolic blood pressure is essential in monitoring the progress of this condition. Systolic blood pressure is the amount of force exerted against arteries when the heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure is the amount of force exerted against arteries when the heart is resting between beats.

Systolic blood pressure is often considered the most important level to monitor. A normal systolic blood pressure is 120 and less. As this number increases, blood pressure is considered elevated until hypertension stage one is reached at 130. Using a blood pressure machine at home allows you to monitor these levels regularly. To assess the results, compare your blood pressure levels with normal systolic and diastolic pressure ranges.

Another benefit of regularly monitoring your blood pressure levels is determining whether your lifestyle changes are working over time. Your health care provider should maintain a record of your blood pressure levels in order to track your progress after diagnosis. Communicating with your doctor to determine the best method of treatment will increase your chances of lowering blood pressure.

Daily Physical Activity

One practice you should implement into your lifestyle if you have high blood pressure is regular exercise. Physical activity can help prevent hypertension from developing if blood pressure is at an increased level. For those who already have hypertension, routine exercise can bring down blood pressure levels to elevated and eventually regular levels. From children to seniors, exercise is beneficial for all ages.

Certain aerobic exercises are beneficial for improving overall health and managing symptoms. Walking, jogging, swimming and cycling are examples of physical activities that can be integrated into your weekly routine. Creating a consistent schedule for exercising is the best way to meet your goals and see an improvement in your health. Try adding 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. You can slowly increase your exercise level over time if you feel comfortable doing so.

Create Healthy Eating Habits

Diet is an important factor in effectively lowering blood pressure levels. A healthy eating routine is necessary for setting your life up for improved health. Eating a whole foods diet will supplement your body with a balanced variety of vitamins and nutrients. Developing an effective meal plan and exercise regimen can result in weight loss and control. Decreased weight is linked to lower blood pressure levels.

Foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium are linked to high blood pressure and decrease heart health. Decreasing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet can lower blood pressure levels. Eating less sodium can also benefit heart health. Processed foods often contain high levels of saturated fat, preservatives and cholesterol. Removing these items from your daily eating habits can improve your overall health and decrease the symptoms of high blood pressure. Avoiding fatty meat, dairy products and processed foods can greatly improve your blood pressure levels.

Fruits, vegetables, grains and low-fat products should make up the majority of your diet. Using healthier oils such as olive oil and avocado oil to cook food will make your meals healthier. Because sodium has a significant effect on blood pressure, potassium intake should be increased. Boosting your potassium levels helps decrease the effect of sodium on blood pressure.

Monitoring what you drink is also important for developing healthy eating habits. Cutting back or completely removing caffeine from your diet could aid in lowering blood pressure levels. Instead of drinking regular coffee or tea, decaf coffee and non-caffeinated herbal teas can serve as replacements. Supplement your diet with plenty of water to properly hydrate your body and digest food more effectively.

Limiting alcohol intake is necessary to decrease blood pressure levels. Drinking regularly can raise blood pressure over time. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation and with careful consideration. Depending on your weight, one to two drinks per day is the normal limit for managing blood pressure levels. Substance abuse and alcohol abuse alike can negatively affect your health.

Inform your health care provider about the diet changes you are planning on making. Your doctor can provide support and important information on specific changes that will help your medical issues. Regular tests can also be administered to ensure your diet is providing adequate nourishment.

Manage Stress and Mental Health

Blood pressure levels are often increased by heightened stress levels. There are many aspects of daily life that can create anxiety, including work, family, money and illness. Managing your stress and taking time for relaxation can greatly affect conditions such as high blood pressure. Additionally, increased negative emotions such as worry, anxiety and tension can enable unhealthy habits that increase blood pressure levels. Unhealthy eating habits, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are common stress-induced reactions. In this way, stress indirectly contributes to increased blood pressure.

Certain practices are helpful to reduce and eliminate stress in everyday life. Start by creating daily goals that are feasible to accomplish. Only focus on issues within your control, instead of worrying about outside circumstances and situations. Avoid triggers for stress to promote peace in your life.

Make time to relax and focus on your hobbies. Participating in activities you find enjoyable is a great way to decrease your stress levels. Ensure to take a break each day, even if you only have a small amount of time. Taking a moment to yourself can have a profound effect on your physical and mental health.

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