How to Prevent or Lower Hypertension?
Learn how to reduce or prevent hypertension with daily exercise and better nutrition.
Prevent Hypertension in 10 Steps
1. Maintain Healthy Body Weight
Increase in blood pressure and extra body weight go hand-in-hand. Keep an eye on your Body Mass Index. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered to be in the healthy range. A person with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a person with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. You and your doctor can determine your target weight and the best way to achieve it.
2. Exercise Regularly
Regular physical activity—at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week—can successfully lower your blood pressure. And it doesn't take long to see a difference. If you've been sedentary, increasing your daily physical activity can help you to lower your blood pressure to a healthy and ideal range. If you have borderline hypertension, exercise can help you avoid developing hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels. Your doctor can help determine whether you need any exercise restrictions.
3. Eat a Healthier Diet
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, lean meats, and lots of vegetables. Stick to the basics and try to consume foods that are high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin, minerals, and low in saturated fats and cholesterol. This simple step can save your life and can lower your blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables contain generous amounts of vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients including potassium which has proven valuable in battling the effects of sodium in people with hypertension.
4. Reduce Dietary Sodium
Most healthy adults need only between 1,500 and 2,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day. But if you have high blood pressure, are older than 50, are African American, or have such chronic conditions as heart disease, kidney disease or diabetes, you may be more sensitive to sodium. In that case, aim for less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day. Talk with your doctor about the amount of sodium that is right for you.
5. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Use common sense, listen to your doctor—if you drink more than moderate amounts of it, alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of high blood pressure medications.
6. Stop Smoking!
Along with many other chronic diseases and disorders affiliated with smoking tobacco, according to the Mayo Clinic, the nicotine in tobacco products can raise your blood pressure by 10 mm Hg or more for up to an hour after you smoke. In addition, chemicals in tobacco can damage your arteries and cause fluid retention, both of which can raise your blood pressure. And like alcohol, tobacco products can interfere with the effectiveness of your blood pressure medications.
7. Use Caffeine Sparingly
Caffeine, in some, can cause a spike in your blood pressure. Talk with your doctor about increased blood pressure as a result of consistent caffeine use. If it is a problem for you—stop, or at lease cut down to lower than 200 mg per day.
8. Reduce Stress
Stress or anxiety can temporarily increase blood pressure. Manage stress via exercise and enjoyable activity. Try a yoga class, ask your trainer about stress reducing exercise programs…often folks can reduce their stress level within just a few minutes. Most of us only ‘go around’ once…make the best of it—be healthy.
9. Schedule Regular Health Care Screenings
These visits will help keep tabs on your blood pressure—and ensure that you don't neglect other health concerns. People who have frequent blood pressure checks at their doctor's office are more likely to control their blood pressure than are those who go a year or more between visits.
10. Take Advantage of a Support System
Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. We all need a coach, a mentor, a friend, and people who care about us. If you do have these people (including your personal trainer!) in your life—embrace them. Allow your support group to help you!