May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. The purpose of the movement is to share tools to reduce the risk of death associated with high blood pressure. In honor of that objective, we want to share the best health tools you have at your control to help you lower your blood pressure.
Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and heart attacks. Excess pressure against your blood vessel walls can cause irreparable damage inside your body even when you’re unaware you have it.
High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” for a reason. The condition carries no symptoms, so you could easily have it and not even know it. And since the American Heart Association lowered its blood pressure standards, more people are considered at risk than ever before.
Blood pressure screening is as simple as taking a blood pressure cuff reading. Every time they bring out the cuff at your doctor’s office, they aren’t just practicing a formality. Blood pressure readings can be a lifesaver!
Your lifestyle habits can also protect your heart against high blood pressure. If you already have hypertension or you want to prevent it, use these tips to keep your blood pressure under control.
The top three healthy habits to manage blood pressure
It may come as a surprise that the top three ways to fight high blood pressure have to do with healthy living, not medication. The best tools available to you to combat hypertension include:
- Maintaining a normal weight
- Eating a nutritious diet
Maintain a normal weight
Excess weight is leading risk factor for high blood pressure. As your weight creeps up, your risk for hypertension rises right along with it. Conversely, even minor weight loss can reduce your blood pressure and the strain on your heart.
To mitigate your risk, you should maintain a healthy weight. Use the CDC’s weight calculator to assess whether or not you’re in the normal weight range. Then, work with your doctor, nutritionist, and personal trainer to achieve your desired weight.
Exercise lowers your blood pressure by helping your heart work more efficiently. Physical activity strengthens your heart so it doesn’t have to exert so much force during every heartbeat.
To manage your blood pressure, you need to make exercise part of your regular routine. You should aim to get 30 minutes of heart-pumping exercise most days and include at least two strength training sessions each week to achieve the most benefits.
Eat a nutrition diet
A healthy, nutritious diet can help you manage a variety of health conditions, and it definitely has a significant impact on blood pressure.
Your doctor and nutritionist can help you design a healthy eating plan for your particular situation. Some of the specific dietary considerations for high blood pressure you should follow include a diet that’s:
- High in unprocessed food like whole grains, fruits and vegetables
- Low in saturated fat and cholesterol
- High in potassium
- Low in salt
You should also limit alcohol and caffeine if you have concerns about high blood pressure.
Your daily choices have a direct impact on your hypertension risk. Putting the effort in now will save you a lot of trouble down the road.
Make sure you get your blood pressure checked at your next appointment too so you can see where your blood pressure stands. If you notice your readings going down after implementing these healthy strategies, you’ll see exactly how much its working.
If you have concerns about your blood pressure, make sure you mention them to your personal trainer too. The trainers at EFS have expertise training clients with blood pressure concerns.