Hypertension — the medical name for high blood pressure — is a fundamental health issue with a risk factor that rises with age. Its presence also raises your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. About 500,000 Americans die each year with high blood pressure as the primary reason for death or as a significant contributing factor.
The best way to deal with high blood pressure is to prevent it from occurring in the first place, but even if your numbers have started to climb, there are things you can control. The first step is diagnosis, since only multiple blood pressure cuff tests under the supervision of medical professionals can reliably identify hypertension.
Millennium Park Medical Associates in Greenwood Village, Colorado, are hypertension specialists, able to diagnose and treat your condition. Most people can make simple lifestyle changes that are heart-friendly and that can bring blood pressure back into normal limits. Give these seven solutions a try, and contact Dr. Farah Khan and the team if you need extra help.
1 Know the risks
High blood pressure causes damage to arteries, increasing your vulnerability to heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. High blood pressure can cause damage to your body long before you notice symptoms, so knowing the risks that apply to you can save your life.
Heredity is a major factor. If a parent or family member has high blood pressure, your chances increase. You also increase the chance for hypertension if you’re living a sedentary life, eating a heart-unfriendly diet, carrying high LDL cholesterol levels, while carrying extra body weight.
2 Control your weight
Many of these risk factors are lifestyle-related. That means they’re at least partially under your control to change. Not only that, many of these changes are interconnected. If you are above your optimal body weight, you can shed the pounds by improving your diet and increasing your activity level, two other targets for the seven steps suggested here. Even a modest amount of weight loss can lower your blood pressure numbers.
3 Hold the salt
Salt doesn’t cause high blood pressure, but once hypertension takes hold, your sodium intake becomes crucial in the battle to lower your numbers. Switching to low-sodium foods and alternate flavor enhancers helps to ease the strain on your arteries.
4 Address the stress
Cutting back on stress isn’t always easy as juggling responsibilities at home and office is always challenging. Know your stress triggers, and find ways to incorporate relaxation techniques to combat stress in your daily life. Deep-breathing drills, yoga classes, and meditation can each work wonders for your blood pressure by easing the impact of stress.
5 Add some steps
Your body is made for motion. Adding modest activity can result in quick, tangible hypertension reduction. If you’ve got an active hobby, like bike riding or tennis, make an effort to enjoy it more often. If you aren’t a gym rat, adding 30 minutes of moderately paced walking, five times a week, can produce remarkable improvements. Consistent exercise most days should be your target.
6 Drop the smokes
If you use tobacco products, you’ve heard the warnings countless times, to the point you’ve likely built an immunity to them. However, the effects of nicotine on your blood vessels is real. Artery walls harden, making your heart work harder to pump blood through your body. Breaking the cigarette habit is the best gift you can give your body. Watch your blood pressure fall with each smoke-free week.
7 Monitor yourself
Home blood pressure testing equipment is affordable, and taking quick checks on your own at home gives remarkable insight into how your blood pressure responds to both good and bad influences. With it, you can stay on top of your improvements as well as watch for blood pressure spikes.
When home care doesn’t drop your pressure quite enough, Dr. Khan can help with medications as well as helping you with your lifestyle efforts. Contact Millennium Park Medical Associates today, by phone or online, to arrange an exam and consultation. The time to address hypertension is now.