High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is one of the most common health problems in America. Of the 75 million people that deal with it across the country, just over half (54%) actually have it under control.
Left unchecked, hypertension can lead to serious complications, including stroke and heart disease, two of the leading causes of death nationwide. The good news is that many of the causes of high blood pressure are controllable: bad diets, alcohol, lack of exercise and stress. That means getting these habits under control can lower your blood pressure, and along with it, the risk of life-threatening conditions.
If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, Dr. Rogers Walker and Walker Family Care can help. Dr. Walker may prescribe medication to help control your blood pressure, but treatment is always most effective when you make changes to your habits. Here are 5 things you can do to lower high blood pressure without medication:
Regular physical activity promotes proper blood flow and weight loss, both of which help keep your blood pressure within the normal range. If you target doing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise you will help to keep blood pressure down and control weight gain. If you’re carrying extra weight, your heart has to do more work, so work on maintaining an exercise regimen that helps with both.
Excessive of sugar and saturated fats will inflame and damage the walls of your blood vessels, raising your blood pressure. Additionally, salt is a major factor in high blood pressure. In fact, too much salt can cancel out the effects of blood pressure medications. A healthy diet based on grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats can reverse high blood pressure in addition to helping you lose weight.
Excess alcohol consumption can raise your blood pressure. To keep your blood pressure under control, you should limit your alcohol consumption to two drinks a day if you’re a man age 65 or younger, or one drink if you’re a woman of any age or a man older than 65. Reducing your alcohol intake can directly improve your blood pressure.
Tobacco in any form can have many negative health effects. Both chewing tobacco and smoking can raise your blood pressure and damage the walls of your arteries. If you use tobacco, quitting can improve your blood pressure and overall health.
By itself, stress can raise your blood pressure. And stress can lead you to unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, drinking and overeating. Stress not only temporarily increases blood pressure, but triggers the production of certain hormones that can damage your arteries.
So making an effort to relieve stress can lower your blood pressure. Do things that you find relaxing and enjoyable. Your body will thank you if you take some time away from your sources of stress, spend time with friends and loved ones, and focus on things that make you happy. You may want to take up wellness practices like yoga and deep breathing.
These habits can improve your blood pressure and your overall health, but you may need additional treatment or support from an experienced doctor. For help lowering your blood pressure, make an appointment with Dr. Walker and Walker Family Care.