Heart Health

Healthy habits to lower high blood pressure

high blood pressure

Diet and Lifestyle plays an important role in treating high blood pressure. You have the power to take charge of your health and lower your blood pressure. Developing heart-healthy habits is the best way to keep your blood pressure under control. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication. In fact, making lifestyle changes is so effective for some people that they don’t need medication.

Here are some of the habits that can have the biggest impact in lowering the high blood pressure:

  • Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises blood pressure. Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight if you’re overweight or obese can help reduce blood pressure.
  • Regular physical activity — such as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure. It’s important to be consistent because if one stops exercising, blood pressure can rise again.
  • Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg if one has high blood pressure.
  • Even a small reduction in the sodium in the diet can improve heart health and reduce blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg in the case of high blood pressure.
  • Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
  • Each cigarette increases the blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps the blood pressure return to normal.
  • Chronic stress may contribute to high blood pressure. Learn to manage stress; try meditation or yoga.
  • Self-monitoring can help keeping tab on the blood pressure. Blood pressure monitors are available widely and without a prescription.

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