Nearly everyone knows about high blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension. Because it’s either you or one of your acquaintances suffering from HBP. That’s because it is a very common medical condition. In fact, one in every 3 adults in the US suffer from HBP making it one of the most prevalent medical health conditions in the country. But it’s commonality doesn’t mean that it isn’t a serious issue. It can turn out to be fatal if not managed properly.
Since there isn’t a cure for HBP yet, the only way to have a healthy and happy life while living with this condition is by taking proper steps to maintain it. Here are a few dos and don’ts for high blood pressure just to give you a headstart.
Manage Your Weight
Being overweight is always associated with an unhealthy body. That’s because it attracts many health conditions and affects your overall well being.
One of the first health problems that comes with weight gain is high blood pressure. According to statistics, about 60 percent of all people with HBP weigh 20 percent more than their ideal body weight, that is they are overweight. That’s because the higher you are on the weight scale, the more will be the strain on your heart. As a result, not only will you see a rise in blood pressure but the risk of heart diseases and strokes also increases.
So are you overweight and suffering from HBP? If yes, then you must put on your training shoes and start doing some physical activity. It doesn’t have to be intense. Just get the optimum amount and you are good to go. Even if you lose a few pounds, you will experience significant improvement in your blood pressure. You will feel more active and energetic. So, start including regular aerobic activities in your lifestyle to get to your ideal weight range.
Eat Nutritious Food
Your body’s a reflection of what you eat. If you feed yourself all the right things, your body will thank you with health. If you are munching on the wrong food, you will end up with health conditions. High blood pressure is also a result of the latter. So, while managing your HBP at home, remember to follow the following tips while cooking your food.
Tip 1 Avoid salt as much as you can. Salt is the biggest enemy of blood pressure. High intake will increase water retention in your body. The higher the water retention, the higher will be the strain on your heart and kidneys. As a result, your blood pressure will also increase.
Tip 2 Say no to sugar. Many people know of salt being the main culprit behind HBP but some studies show that sugar is in fact equally, if not more, responsible for increasing blood pressure. However, not all sugar is bad. You can have fruits, whole grain and dairy without any added sugar. But steer clear from products with added sugar.
Tip 3 Avoid harmful fats. Fats in food can be good or bad. The one that you want to avoid are saturated and trans fat. Bakery items, processed food and dairy are usually packed with these harmful fats.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure Everyday
If you are taking all the necessary steps to manage your blood pressure, you have to find a way to know that your lifestyle changes are working or not. This can be done by regularly monitoring your blood pressure. Even the American Heart Association recommends people suffering from HBP to monitor themselves at home. You can find digital equipment for your home to measure blood pressure everyday. They are available at online stores and local markets without any prescription.
Regular monitoring helps identify the lifestyle changes and medications that aren’t effective. You can connect with your doctor and make the necessary changes to bring back cardiovascular homeostasis. Home monitoring is effective not just for patients but also people who don’t have HBP. It will help with an early diagnosis and help you get better before it is too late.
Don’t Take Stress
If you are on the verge of developing high blood pressure or are already suffering from it, stress is your worst enemy. Avoid any situation that triggers your anxiety depression or any other stress. That’s because stress produces a lot of hormones. The important one here is the stress hormone called cortisol. It is responsible for increasing your heart rate and narrowing down your blood vessels. As a result the strain on your heart increases and so does the blood pressure. If not checked immediately, the person may suffer from a stroke, panic attack or heart attack.
Though stress alone is not a major cause of HBP but it definitely is a contributor. So, if you are someone who experiences recurrent anxiety, depression or stress, learn to calm yourself down. Try deep breathing until you feel okay. It triggers your body into a calming mode. Yoga and meditation also help in relieving stress.
In addition to practicing calming activities, keep a check on your diet too. While processed foods increase the chance of anxiety, high dietary fibre intake can help reduce it.
Don’t Overindulge in Alcohol
Blood pressure and alcohol do not go well together. High blood pressure patients should refrain from engaging in drinking. And even if you are indulging in alcohol, make sure that it is in moderation. Alcohol can increase the blood pressure both temporarily and for a long time. Even if you are following the rule of moderation, drinking frequently can cause long lasting problems. Also, alcohol is a major contributor of weight gain which is another factor that increases blood pressure. So, to get better, you must change your drinking habits.
Start slow and reduce to one or two drinks a day. Reducing alcohol intake can help lower the systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg and 1 to 2 mm Hg, respectively.
Most Importantly, Don’t Delay Your Visit to the Doctor!
High blood pressure has its roots in poor lifestyle choices. So, it is obvious that people will think that a change in their lifestyle habits will help deal with this condition. While changes are definitely effective, they are not enough. Genetics, family history and underlying conditions can also be the cause of high blood pressure. In any case, you must identify the cause to deal with it in the best way possible. So if you feel any of the symptoms of high blood pressure such as headaches, dizziness or shortness or breath, reach out to a doctor as soon as possible.
If you are not in a state to leave your home or are not comfortable stepping outdoors during the pandemic, you can still get yourself checked. With the help of telemedicine, you can get the best high blood pressure treatment at home. Using your laptop or smartphone, you can connect with a trained professional for your face to face consultation. They will access your condition and give you a personalized treatment plan.