High blood pressure (HBP), or hypertension, – sometimes referred to as “the silent killer” – is not to be taken lightly. According to The American Heart Association, contrary to belief, HBP is actually considered a symptomless disease. If left untreated, HBP can cause damage to your arteries, heart and other organs; it is essential that you maintain a healthy lifestyle and monitor your blood pressure to avoid serious health risks.
So, in recognition of National Blood Pressure Month, lets chat and chew about ways you can help lower your risk for HBP.
Preventing High Blood Pressure
According to WebMD, nearly 1 in every 4 American adults has high blood pressure. Developing a heart-healthy lifestyle is a great way to maintain your blood pressure, but it is essential for any who has been diagnosed with HBP. It helps reduce your risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke and more.
Below are some ways you can help prevent high blood pressure, or lower it if diagnosed.
- Maintain a healthy weight. You are two to six times more likely to develop HBP is you’re overweight. (1) While losing weight and dieting are no easy task, shedding just ten pounds can help reduce your blood pressure—and the strain on your heart. Check out the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Risk Calculator to see whether losing weight may help lower your blood pressure.
- Exercise regularly. People who are physically active are 20% to 50% less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who are not. Take a walk or jog for 30 minutes before or after work – every little bit helps lower your risk! For more, check out AHA’s recommendations and fitness guidelines.
- Don’t be salty. Shaking the salt habit is important for lowering blood pressure or preventing HBP. This doesn’t just mean cutting back on the table salt; it means packaged, processed foods too. The AHA recommends consuming less than 1500 mg of sodium a day – use this sodium tracker to help keep track of your intake.
- Put a cork in it. Limiting alcohol consumption can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of HBP. The AHA’s recommends no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. (2)
- Stress Less. Did you get a chance to read April’s blog post on managing stress? If not, check it out here. Learning how to manage stress can prevent overeating, smoking, drinking alcohol and more, all of which lead to higher risks of heart attack, stroke and of course, high blood pressure.
Even if you take all the necessary precautions to prevent HBP, remember, it can easily sneak up on you. You can easily monitor your blood pressure from home, but for anyone with HBP, you should also make regular visits to your physician. If you’re interested in learning more, check out AHA’s High Blood Pressure Tools & Resource page.