Unmitigated high blood pressure can result in blood clots, inflammation, or even a heart attack or stroke. In order to address this potentially life-threatening condition, these tips to help manage high blood pressure can be regularly incorporated into everyday life.
Lose Inches, Not Just Weight
Although weight loss is an important factor in controlling high blood pressure, it’s also important to control abdominal fat, which can put individuals at greater risk of high blood pressure. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should aim for a waist measurement lower than 40 inches, while women should try to keep their waist measurement under 35 inches.
Regular exercise can result in beneficial weight loss, but that’s not the only upside to staying active. Working out 150 minutes per week can lower blood pressure by 5 to 8 points (measured as mm Hg). Although cardio workouts may be most beneficial, those who can only tolerate lighter activity due to a heart condition can still benefit from light swimming, walking, cycling, or even dancing every day.
Keep a Food Diary
Without a food diary, it’s easy to underestimate how much one eats daily. A food diary can help keep people at risk for high blood pressure aware of their dietary choices, allowing them to discuss their habits with their physician. A food diary can help remind the patient to eat heart-healthy superfoods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, as well as help them keep tabs on how many calories they consume every day. It can also help track nutrients; for example, patients with high blood pressure may benefit from reducing sodium and boosting potassium, which can, in turn, help reduce sodium levels.
Cut Back on Risk Factors
Those who smoke regularly are at higher risk for developing and sustaining high blood pressure. In addition to a host of other benefits, quitting smoking can help reduce blood pressure over time. Additionally, drinking alcohol regularly can raise blood pressure and reduce the efficacy of blood pressure medication, so it should also be limited. Finally, caffeine may raise blood pressure, especially for those who don’t have much of a tolerance, so patients may need to switch to decaf.
High blood pressure is a dangerous condition, but it may be managed by adhering to these tips and regularly meeting with a physician. To schedule an appointment with one of our cardiologists, call Marion Physician Associates P.A. at 352-732-3005 today.