words Al Woods
An estimated 1 in 3 adults in the UK have high blood pressure. Due to the risks high blood pressure can pose, this is quite an alarming figure. For example, if left untreated, high blood pressure can increase your risk of experiencing serious problems, including heart attacks, strokes, peripheral arterial disease and kidney disease. So, if you are suffering from high blood pressure, understanding how to control it, with and without medication, is vital to your ongoing health. Here are 9 ways to control high blood pressure so you can feel your best.
1. Manage Your Weight
Excess weight can cause several problems, including a higher blood pressure. However, being overweight can also cause issues such as sleep apnoea, which can further raise blood pressure. So, maintaining a healthy weight is vital to lowering blood pressure. But, if you are overweight, working towards a healthy weight will certainly inspire a change in blood pressure levels. You should ask your health care provider directly for the healthiest weight for you.
2. Eat Well
Your diet can also cause high blood pressure levels. Eating excess amounts of saturated fat and foods containing cholesterol will cause a higher blood pressure and potentially lead to weight gain. To lower blood pressure, you should eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Fantastic diets that can provide the perfect balance include Mediterranean diet or the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
3. Exercise Regularly
Like a healthy diet, exercise helps to keep the heart healthy and lower blood pressure. However, it’s important that you exercise regularly to help lower your blood pressure naturally and see a change in blood pressure levels. Some beneficial exercises you can include in your daily activities to lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, and strength training. It’s best to talk to your health care provider to develop the best exercise plan for you.
4. Limit Alcohol In Your Diet
Drinking too much alcohol can cause your blood pressure to raise by several points. Plus, too many alcohol units can also render blood pressure medications less effective. Ideally, women should aim to have no more than one alcoholic drink a day and men should aim for no more than two. One drink equates to 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of liquor or 12 ounces of beer.
5. Stop Smoking
Smoking leads to higher blood pressure since it damages the walls of your blood vessels and narrows your arteries. So, quitting smoking will lead to a significant reduction in blood pressure levels. Additionally, stopping smoking can improve your health overall, reducing your risk of heart problems and potentially resulting in a longer life.
6. Improve Sleep Quality
Regularly getting less than six hours of sleep every night over several weeks, or poor sleep quality, contributes to high blood pressure. So, improving the amount of sleep you get and the quality of it is vital. Unfortunately, several issues can disrupt your sleep, including insomnia and sleep apnoea. You should discuss these with your health care provider.
As a general rule of thumb, you should create and stick to a regular sleep schedule, limit your nap time and create a restful sleeping space to improve your sleep quality.
7. Reduce Stress Levels
Stress can contribute to numerous long-term effects in the body, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety and high blood pressure. Although we need more research to determine the most effective stress reduction techniques to benefit the blood pressure, targeting the causes of stress is certainly the best first step to take.
Once you have determined your stress triggers, you can take the required steps to avoid them. For example, if a colleague stresses you out, plan your work day so you can limit the time you spend with that person. Additionally, it’s important to give yourself time to relax. So, make time to enjoy activities or hobbies every day, and practice gratitude in all your acts.
8. Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Monitoring your blood pressure is best practice so you can keep on top of it and ensure that your prevention methods are working. Home monitoring is a common practice, and you can purchase a home blood pressure monitor without a prescription. If you do choose to do regular home monitoring, you should be aware that a healthy blood pressure should be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
Additionally, you should arrange regular visits with your health provider to help monitor and control your blood pressure.
9. Seek Support
Surrounding yourself with supportive family and friends is vital for good health no matter the issue. So, gather your supportive friends and keep them close. You need people who will encourage you to take care of yourself and prioritise your health. To help meet your blood pressure level goals, you may even start up exercise programmes with your friends. However, if you find yourself needing support beyond your social circle, you could consider joining a support group.