7 Steps to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Persistently high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Blood pressure naturally rises as you age, but it’s crucial to keep your numbers within a healthy range. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Americans, and risk factors like high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol are significant contributors. Prevention is key, but even if you’re diagnosed with blood pressure, you can do something about it. 

The first step is a checkup, which involves checking factors that contribute to heart health like blood pressure and cholesterol. 

Internal medicine physician of Gulf West Medical Associates, Rajesh B. Dave, MD, provides a full range of services to combat heart disease and improve heart health. Lifestyle changes are the first line of defense against high blood pressure. Here are some of the steps you can take to manage your blood pressure. 

1: Know your numbers, know your risk

Knowing what your blood pressure numbers is the best place to start. High blood pressure damage arteries throughout your body, raising the likelihood of life-threatening issues like heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. Referred to as a silent killer, hypertension damages your body long before symptoms become apparent, so knowing the risks can save your life.

Heredity is a factor. If a parent or family member has high blood pressure, your chances increase. While you can’t change factors like family history, you can change others. Lifestyle choices like, failing to get enough exercise, and eating a poor diet are risk factors you can do something about. It’s equally important to manage risk factors like high cholesterol. 

2: Lose extra pounds

Poor diet, too little exercise, and other lifestyle choices tend to add up to extra weight. By adopting healthier habits, you can manage your weight, lose excess pounds, and lower your many of the risks associated with high blood pressure. 

If you are above a healthy 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 significantly lower your blood pressure numbers and cut your risks. 

3: Slash the sodium

Your body maintains a delicate balance of fluids inside and outside of cells. Minerals like sodium, potassium, and chloride regulate water balance. Eating a diet low in potassium and high in sodium raises the risk of high blood pressure. What’s more, 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: Manage your stress

Stress is an often overlooked contributor to high blood pressure. And, while cutting back on stress isn’t always easy, it’s necessary. In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, some types of stress are unavoidable. The goal is to strike a balance by engaging in stress-busting activities like yoga and meditation.

Know your stress triggers, and find ways to incorporate relaxation techniques to combat stress in your daily life. Relaxing with a good book, spending time outdoors, and listening to soothing movies can each work wonders for your blood pressure by easing the impact of stress. 

5: Get your body moving

Your body is made to move. When your body doesn’t get enough exercise, many negative physiological changes occur. The term that if you don’t use it, you lose it, applies here. Adding activity into your lifestyle strengthens your cardiovascular system and 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 don’t know where to start, try adding 30 minutes of moderately paced walking, five times a week. Consistent exercise most days should be your target.

6: Quit smoking immediately

If you use tobacco products, you’ve heard the warnings countless times. However, the effects of nicotine on your blood vessels is real. Smoking not only damages your lungs, it damages your arteries, causing artery walls to harden. This makes your heart work harder to pump blood through your body. Breaking the cigarette habit is the best gift you can give your body. 

7: Keep track of your numbers

Regular blood pressure checks with your provider, along with monitoring your blood pressure at home play a vital role in staying on top of your blood pressure. Home blood pressure testing equipment is affordable, and taking quick checks on your own at home gives crucial insight into how your blood pressure responds to the steps you’re taking and changes you’re making. With it, you can stay on top of your improvements as well as watch for blood pressure spikes. 

Dr. Dave can help you get your blood pressure in check. Most often a combination of lifestyle changes and medication is needed to effectively manage blood pressure. Scheduling a checkup is the first step in protecting your heart and managing your blood pressure. To get started, contact our Port St. Lucie office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dave. Existing and prospective patients can also book their request online.

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