Seven Steps to Lowering Your Blood Pressure
As many as one in three Americans have high blood pressure, and one-third of them do not even know they have it, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). A high blood pressure can increase your chances of developing many diseases such as heart disease, stroke or kidney disease.
Nearly 65 million Americans ages six and older have high blood pressure, AHA reports. Having no warning signs or symptoms makes it particularly dangerous, so it is a good idea to have your blood pressure checked. Take time during National High Blood Pressure Month in May to visit your physician and have your blood pressure taken.
Developing a healthy lifestyle can help you reduce your risks of developing high blood pressure. Here are some simple tips to help you get started.
- Maintain a healthy weight. The most effective way to reduce high blood pressure is to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
- Develop a healthy diet. A healthy, low-fat diet includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Exercise regularly. Perform aerobic exercises that increase your heart rate 20 to 30 minutes several times a week to strengthen your heart.
- Reduce salt/sodium intake.
- Quit smoking.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Reduce your stress.
Women have additional risks to monitor and discuss with their doctors, including birth control pills, which can increase blood pressure in some women especially when combined with other risk factors; pregnancy, particularly in the last three months; and after menopause when your chances of developing high blood pressure increases.
If you consistently have high readings, your doctor will perform tests and discuss treatment such as medications to help lower your blood pressure.
For more information on high blood pressure, visit the Heart Lung Vascular Institute. To schedule an appointment with a doctor, call 1-877-882-2737.