High blood pressure is a problem that many people deal with today. According to the FDA, almost 65 million adults in the US are affected by it. Needless to say, it can be rather scary. With symptoms like Severe headaches, shortness of breath, and nosebleeds, it’s no wonder it’s a popular topic. When left untreated, it can lead to a lot more serious problems like a heart attack or kidney damage.
Luckily, most cases can be managed or even prevented with a few lifestyle changes that -let’s be honest- we should be following anyways.
Kick the Habit
It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you. Between all of the studies and pamphlets and even commercials, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s detrimental to your blood pressure. When you smoke, it constricts your blood vessels and causes resistance, raising your blood pressure by up to 15 percent.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. It can be really hard to stop once you’ve started, even more so if you’ve been doing it for a long time. But if you commit to it, you’ll notice a lot of health benefits as well as better quality of life in general. If you’re having trouble, Mayo Clinic has a top notch article on how to kick the habit for good.
Shed Some Stress
Seems a bit contradictory after the last one, I know. But stress also has its effects on your blood pressure. It sounds obvious, but stress tends to make your heart beat harder, as well as narrowing your blood vessels.
With how fast paced society is these days, it can be really difficult to cut back on stress. Just remember, your health is the most important thing.
Drop A Few Pounds
This is another one related to your heart. The more weight you have the harder your body has to work to keep all that blood circulating. If you are a bit overweight, you’re not alone. About 70 percent of adults in the US are overweight or obese, so don’t sweat it. You don’t have to go for a full Hollywood transformation, even the smallest amount will do wonders for your blood pressure.
Pass on The Salt
Salt is really tasty -even I still have problems with this step- but too much of it will make your blood pressure skyrocket faster than you can say ‘sodium’. Salt has a habit of making your body hold onto water, which sounds like a good thing, but the extra water makes your blood pressure a lot higher.
You can still have a healthy meal but keep an eye on your salt intake. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, with the ideal being 1,500 mg.
Hit the Gym
Exercise doesn’t only work on the muscles you can see in the mirror! There have been so many studies on exercise and all of its benefits, so it’s not a shock that it helps out with your blood pressure. It lowers it, not only for people with high blood pressure, but for those in the average range – which makes it great for prevention.
The keyword here is regular. Going to the gym to work out, then putting it off for the rest of the month isn’t going to do you much good. You don’t have to put in a body builder’s workout every day but going for a walk or doing some stretches every now and then when you’re stuck at your desk will work. Every little bit helps.
Cut Back on Caffeine
Caffeine affects your blood pressure, not only immediately, but long term. The immediate effect is why most people drink it. It raises your heart rate, wakes you up, sometimes even gives you a bit of adrenaline. Unfortunately, it also constricts your blood vessels and puts stress on your system. The stress has a long term effect, making you more likely to develop high blood pressure!
Good news though, you don’t have to cut it completely. There are a few studies out there that show caffeine can be healthy for you in moderation. It’s when you’ve had 4 cups of strong coffee before you’ve even had lunch is when it starts to become a problem.
A good rule of thumb is to cut off your caffeine intake at 5pm. This will still get you through the day but will give you enough time to recover and rest for the next.
Call Your Doctor
While these are some pretty helpful tips for managing your blood pressure, no article is going to replace a medical professional when it comes to your health, there are even a few good Doctors Byron Bay. They can always talk you through your options and what kind of lifestyle changes are right for you.
There are a whole lot of high blood pressure medication on the market that can help you out a great deal too, don’t be afraid to communicate and figure what works best for you.
While high blood pressure can be a bit frightening – and even discouraging – there are a number of ways to get through it. As long as you keep yourself healthy, get some exercise in, and make good decisions when it comes to your diet, your doctor will be singing your praise before you know it!
Remember, if you’re experiencing extreme symptoms or suffering greatly, it’s always a clever idea to contact a medical professional. They’re there to fix us up when we’re in a bad way, so don’t put it off or ignore it when it can be something that affects your whole body and well-being like high blood pressure.