How to minimise high blood pressure
Anybody that has been diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension will be more than aware of just how serious it can be. It increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and can even lead to vision problems.
As with many other things, prevention is better than cure, so we have put together a list of lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of getting high blood pressure.
The good news is that high blood pressure can often be controlled without medication. Because lifestyle impacts blood pressure, it is possible to reduce the need for blood pressure medication by making some simple changes.
As always, if you think you may be suffering with high blood pressure, contact your GP immediately.
Six Lifestyle changes to help reduce blood pressure
Keep a healthy weight – one of the most significant causes of hypertension, and in turn one of the best ways of reducing it, is to maintain a healthy weight. By losing excess weight, people can remove one of the major causes and also one of the most significant contributing factors. Maintaining a healthy weight can also make any blood pressure medication more effective.
Enjoy a healthy, balanced diet – often the go-to suggestion for doctors and other healthcare professionals is to eat a balanced diet. This is because a poor diet without enough nutrients is often the cause or a contributing factor of health conditions.
We should focus on fruit and vegetables, whole grains and high fibre foods and reduce our intake of dairy and meat. We should also limit processed foods and food that is high in sugar. This does not mean we are not allowed a treat from time to time, indeed having those treats is essential to sticking with a diet and is, therefore, an important part of it. However, these should be limited in size and frequency.
Often the much recommended Mediterranean-style diet is deemed to be a good option for helping lower blood pressure.
Take regular exercise – 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 and changing to an active lifestyle could have a profoundly positive impact.
You must be careful that any exercise programme you start is safe for you and should therefore seek professional healthcare advice before you commence. Also, start slowly and build up- if you go too far and too fast at the start it becomes very difficult to maintain. Try starting 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 a lot of advice for older people on what exercise regimes they should take online, but in any event please speak to your GP before doing anything.
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 – nobody will be surprised to know that smoking and breathing in second-hand smoke can cause an increase in blood pressure. It does not just increase the risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease and a raft of other conditions it also brings a significant risk of hypertension.
So if you have or at risk of high blood pressure you absolutely must give up smoking and you will see a significant benefit 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.