High blood pressure – how to minimise it

Anybody that has been diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension will be aware of just how serious it can be. It increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and even vision problems.

The good news is that high blood pressure can often be controlled with simple lifestyle changes, avoiding the need for medication.

As always, if you think you may be suffering with high blood pressure, contact your GP immediately and do not rely on online articles to manage your health.

Six lifestyle changes to help high blood pressure

Maintain a healthy weight – carrying excess weight is one of the most significant contributing factors to high blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight decreases your risk, and if you already suffer with high blood pressure, it can make your blood pressure medication more effective.

Enjoy a healthy, balanced diet – poor diet can contribute to a number of different illnesses, therefore doctors and health professionals recommend a healthy diet that balances the different food groups.

This includes fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and high fibre foods in our diet, as well as reducing our intake of dairy and meat, is a great way to stay balanced. It is also important to limit processed and/or sugary foods. This does not mean we are not allowed a treat from time to time: allowing yourself to eat your favourite treats is recommended over going ‘cold turkey.’ However, try and limit the amount and the frequency.

Exercise regularly – staying active is another one of the lifestyle changes you can make that will help with almost any healthcare condition. Sedentary lifestyles are also huge contributors to high blood pressure, therefore changing to an active lifestyle can have a huge impact.

Before making any drastic changes to your exercise schedule, you should seek professional healthcare advice to ensure it is safe. You should ideally start slowly and build up your stamina, e.g. start with a short walk, take the stairs not the lift or get off the bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way.

There is lots of advice online for older people on what exercise regimes they should take, but please speak to your GP before doing anything new.

Drink less alcohol – the consumption of alcoholic beverages has been proven to significantly contribute to an increase in blood pressure; it has also been proven to reduce the effectiveness of the medication people may be prescribed. As always, if you are in doubt as to what constitutes a safe limit for you personally, consult your GP without delay.

Stop smoking – it may not come as a surprise to know that smoking, and even second hand smoke, can cause an increase in blood pressure. Not only does it increase your risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease and other conditions, but it also brings a significant risk of hypertension.

If you have or are at high risk of having high blood pressure then it is highly advised to give up smoking in order to see improvements to your blood pressure.

Reduce stress – stress will increase your blood pressure just as much as the other factors already mentioned. So, whilst you stop smoking, improve your diet, reduce your alcohol intake and take more exercise, calming down the stressful elements in your life is another key strategy.

For more information or if you wish to discuss care for your loved one please email care@greensleeves.org.uk