High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often called the silent killer because the condition can be symptomless. Many people don’t have any signs of high blood pressure until a doctor gives a diagnosis. Managing hypertension is crucial to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and more. Follow these 4 tips for managing high blood pressure.
1. Count your activity
Regular exercise is one of the best steps a person can take to reduce blood pressure. Getting regular movement helps to strengthen the heart muscle, making the heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood. This, in turn, can lower blood pressure. Aim for 150 minutes weekly of moderate exercise. Even just 30 minutes of walking a day can make a difference.
2. Watch for hidden salt
People may think that not adding table salt to foods is enough to control sodium intake. However, due to the high volume of processed and prepackaged foods, many people struggle to keep sodium levels within a healthy range. Many studies have shown that excess sodium increases the risk of stroke. At the very maximum, limit sodium to no more than 2,300 mg. Ideally, adults will get less than 1,500 mg daily of sodium.
3. Watch your waistline
Most people know that maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for overall health. In particular, a person’s waist circumference can be an indicator of heart health. Too much weight around the waistline puts a person at a higher risk of hypertension. In general, men’s risk raises if the waist measurement is 40 inches or more. For women, risk increases when waist size gets above 35 inches. These measurements can vary, so any unsure patient should ask for a doctor’s advice.
4. Limit bad habits
Quitting smoke is a crucial step to take when trying to lower blood pressure. Alcohol, however, is more nuanced. When drinking alcohol in moderation, defined as one drink daily for women and two per day for men, people may see a decrease in blood pressure. However, the opposite goes into effect if someone is drinking to excess. Too much alcohol can also reduce the effectiveness of hypertension medication in those whose blood pressure is already high.
Get support today
When a person is trying to change any health habit, support from family and friends is crucial. Find an exercise buddy or ask a partner to help with accountability in following a diet. For more information on reducing blood pressure, speak with a family medicine provider.