Reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other dangerous illnesses by making an effort to prevent high blood pressure. These suggestions can assist you in maintaining your health.
High blood pressure, often known as hypertension, raises your chance of developing a variety of significant health issues. High blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), can cause heart disease, stroke, and renal disease, among other health problems.
The American Academy of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017, defining hypertension as a reading of 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or greater. The previous standard was 140/90 mmHg. According to the new guidelines, roughly half of all Americans have excessive blood pressure.
Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about a quarter of persons with high blood pressure in the United States have their condition under control (CDC).
While you can’t always prevent high blood pressure, you can create good lifestyle behaviors to help prevent hypertension and lower your risk of future high blood pressure-related health problems.
Factors You Can Control to Prevent Hypertension
Hypertension risk factors that are out of your control include your age, a family history of hypertension, and ethnicity. When it comes to preventing high blood pressure, the goal is to concentrate on the risk factors that are under your control.
“We can’t change our age, but we can change our lifestyle,” says Olugbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH, a clinical hypertension specialist at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City and head of the Center for Healthful Behavior Change.
Make these healthy lifestyle choices to avoid a hypertension diagnosis.
Maintain a healthy weight. According to Dr. Ogedegbe, your weight is vital in preventing hypertension. Overweight persons should aim to lose weight, whereas normal weight people should avoid gaining weight. According to the American Heart Association, decreasing as little as 10 pounds can help avoid high blood pressure if you are overweight or have a BMI of 25 or above.
Consume a well-balanced diet. Eating nutritious foods can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure level. Limit your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and sugar by eating enough of fruits and vegetables. According to the American Heart Association, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet has been found to help manage blood pressure. The eating plan emphasizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Red meat, salt, and sweets are all foods to avoid.
Reduce your salt intake. A low-sodium diet can help many people maintain normal blood pressure. “The more salt you eat, the greater your blood pressure will be,” adds Ogedegbe. By eliminating high-sodium packaged and processed foods and not adding salt to your meals, you can reduce your total salt intake. “I always urge folks to avoid salt shakers,” Ogedegbe says. The combination of reduced salt intake and the DASH diet significantly reduced systolic blood pressure, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology of more than 400 persons with prehypertension.
Exercise on a regular basis. To avoid hypertension, get moving. “Physical activity is essential,” Ogedegbe argues. The more exercise you receive, the better, but even a small amount can help you keep your blood pressure under control. Each week, the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of strenuous exercise. Two days per week, muscle-strengthening activities such as free weights or resistance training should be added to the mix.
Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. Excessive alcohol use might result in high blood pressure. According to the AHA, this means no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for males.
Take care of your stress. While the link between stress and blood pressure is still being researched, stress is known to contribute to other key hypertension risk factors, such as improper eating and alcohol consumption, according to the American Heart Association. According to the American Heart Association, meditation can help you manage stress and high blood pressure.
Keep an eye on your blood pressure. Make sure your blood pressure is checked on a regular basis, either in your doctor’s office or at home. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure generally occurs without symptoms, therefore only blood pressure readings can tell you if your blood pressure is rising. Starting at age 20, if your blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg, the AHA recommends that you monitor it at least once every two years. You may need to have your blood pressure checked more frequently if your blood pressure is higher.
Examine your daily routine to see where you may make modifications to help prevent hypertension. Conquer minor goals, such as nibbling on fruits and veggies instead of junk food, and keep practicing these healthy behaviors until they become second nature.
If your blood pressure is now under control, making these lifestyle adjustments can help you avoid high blood pressure or lower your blood pressure if it is already high.