7 Steps to Treating and Preventing High Blood Pressure
If you have slightly raised blood pressure thankfully you may not need aggressive treatment because there are a number of lifestyle changes that can help you lower blood pressure naturally.
Here are a few simple changes that will help you lower or prevent high blood pressure:
#1 Be a healthy weight
If you're overweight it will increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, and as your weight rises, so does your blood pressure. In fact, being overweight can make you two to six times more likely to develop high blood pressure than if you were in a more desirable weight range
The good news is however that losing as little as 10 pounds of your current weight can help to lower blood pressure if you are overweight.
You should aim for safe weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week by eating a healthy balanced diet, cutting calories where necessary, and taking some exercise.
#2 Exercise regularly
Being physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to control your blood pressure. It can also help reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and other conditions.
You should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five or six times per week.
However, if you're new to exercise, even 5 minutes of physical activity per day will be beneficial and will help you build the habit of exercising regularly into your routine. Once it has become a part of your daily routine you should begin to workout for longer.
#3 Cut back on alcohol
It's fact that drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
So, if you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure you should try to keep the amount you drink within recommended limits - this is one drink per day for women, and one to two drinks per day for men. A drink counts as:
- 12 ounces beer
- 4 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits
- 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits
Obviously alcoholic drinks are also calories-rich, so if you're trying to lose weight cutting back is wise.
#4 Limit your caffeine levels
Caffeine is a mild stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and some soft drinks. It is thought that too much caffeine may increase your blood pressure, and therefore as a precaution many health professionals recommend limiting caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day (equivalent to two 12 ounce cups of brewed coffee).
The effects of caffeine on blood pressure may actually be more of an individual matter, but you can test your sensitivity by checking your blood pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee, or another caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by five to ten points, you may be sensitive to the effects of caffeine, and therefore it would be wise to cut back.
#5 Quit smoking
While smoking doesn't actually cause high blood pressure, it does damage the heart and circulation, and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Therefore, avoiding smoking is particularly important if you have high blood pressure.
Remember, when you quit smoking your risk of having a heart attack is considerably reduced.
#6 Avoid stress
It's thought that blood pressure is increased during a stressful period, and over time this may contribute to higher blood pressure levels.
Try to avoid stressful situations wherever possible, and use stress management techniques and exercise to help you control your stress better.
#7 Drug treatments
If your blood pressure remains high, your doctor may prescribe medications to relax and widen the blood vessels, or others to trigger hormones to lower your blood pressure.
Regardless, it's extremely important that you're committed to taking this medication on a daily basis. Although you may not feel any different when you have high blood pressure, it can be very damaging if left unchecked.