Manage High Blood Pressure

Top 7 Everyday Habits To Adopt for Managing High Blood Pressure

Your blood pressure seems to be out of control even though you did not have any symptoms. This is a pretty common scenario. But, diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are often insidious, and they start showing only when they become complicated.

Your doctor starts prescribing a list of anti-hypertensives, which you are hesitant to take.
But you know what?
You could have a better blood pressure control if you take up some simple (sounding) steps to modify your lifestyle along with the medications.

If your blood pressure is not excessively high, your doctor would just ask you to take some steps to modify in lifestyle.

Check out the best ways to manage high blood pressure:

Daily exercise:

  • Did you know that spending 30 minutes daily on exercise can decrease your blood pressure by 5-8mmHg? So, are you rushing to take a gym membership already? That is not necessary!
  • Any activity which makes your heart beat faster or makes you breathe harder is good enough. However, before starting any exercise regime consult your doctor.

The DASH diet:

DASH refers to the Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension. A group of leading clinicians and the nutritionists from all over the world devised a diet plan to manage hypertension in the early 1990s. This diet, if followed judiciously, can show a reduction in the blood pressure in just two weeks.

According to this diet plan, one should have:

  • 5 servings of vegetables: Veggies rich in vitamins and minerals such as green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes etc.
  • 5 servings of fruits: Fruits that have a low glycemic index such as pears, apples, oranges, grapefruits, plums, strawberries and grapes are a great option.
  • 7 servings of carbohydrates: Broken wheat, oats, millets are healthier carb options for people with hypertension. You can have cereal, rice or pasta.
  • 2 servings of low fat dairy: Try to get low fat milk, yogurt, cheese.
  • 2 servings of lean meat per day: Among low fat lean meats, prefer having heart healthy meats such as salmon and tuna fishes.
  • 4-5 servings of nuts per week: Almonds, kidney beans, lentil and peas are great sources of proteins, minerals and phytochemicals.

Ditch restaurants and store-bought foods:

  • Restaurant foods and processed foods have high levels of sodium, which can increase the blood pressure.
  • High sodium foods include- pizzas, sandwiches, chips, canned and pickled vegetables, cheeses, and soups. Therefore, try to have homemade foods as much as possible.

Stay away from alcohol:

  • Alcohol, in excess, is really bad for your health.
  • Heavy drinking not only spikes up your blood pressure but also is bad for your weight as alcohol is high in calories.
  • However, having one drink a day for women and around 2 drinks per day for men is considered moderate drinking and can actually be beneficial to the heart. (One drink is 12 ounces of beer, or five ounces of wine).

Quit smoking:

  • When you smoke, your blood pressure increases, it remains high for minutes even after you have stopped smoking.
  • Nicotine, a byproduct of tobacco smoke, not only increases your blood pressure but also damage the internal lining of the blood vessel wall, that increases the chances of having many complications such as heart attack and stroke.

Think before taking an over-the-counter medication:

  • Many common day to day drugs such as decongestants (phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine), painkiller (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen), corticosteroids and oral contraceptives can all raise you blood pressure.
  • Also, some natural herbs can also raise your blood pressure.

Get yourself a BP monitor:

  • Blood pressure monitors are widely available and keeping a track of your blood pressure helps to find out how your lifestyle measures are influencing your blood pressure.
  • Moreover, your medication dose can also be modified if you seem to have a better control of our blood pressure.

Keep a track of your blood pressure and also maintain a daily diary where you note down what you ate, your medications, and your blood pressure readings. This diary would also be useful for your doctor to plan out treatment which would be most useful for you.

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