If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension), you may be wary about taking medication to bring your numbers down. It turns out you may be able to avoid, delay or reduce your need for medicine by living a healthier lifestyle. Here are six changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it that way.
More than 100 million Americans are living with high blood pressure – a condition that puts you at a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes.1 While some patients take medication to keep their numbers low, others prefer a more natural approach. Consider these six lifestyle changes that can help you control your blood pressure.
Eat a Healthy Diet
The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day for adults with hypertension. Focus on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy products.
Smoking does not just hurt your lungs – the nicotine in tobacco products also raises your blood pressure and heart rate. Kicking the habit can help your blood pressure return to normal.
Exercising for 30 minutes most days of the week can help you lower your blood pressure by five to eight millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Dancing, running, strength training, swimming and walking are good exercises for hypertension.
Chronic stress may contribute to hypertension. Getting enough sleep, meditating and simplifying your schedule can help you control your stress levels and blood pressure.
Blood pressure tends to rise as body weight increases. Losing just 10 pounds if you are overweight or obese can help lower your numbers. Besides shedding pounds, you should also keep a close eye on your waistline. In general, a waist measurement of more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men is considered high.
Visit Your Doctor Regularly
Your doctor can help you manage your hypertension by offering advice about how often to monitor your numbers, whether the lifestyle changes you have made are working and any other treatments you should try.