4 Lifestyle Steps for Managing High Blood Pressure

If you’re one of the 80 million American adults living with high blood pressure, you probably know how important it is to make positive changes to improve your numbers. At Integrative Primary Care in Houston, we understand how dangerous chronic high blood pressure can be, and if you’re struggling to lower your blood pressure we can help. 

Syed Farhat Zaidi, MD, can help you take charge of your blood pressure by partnering with you to put your health first. In this blog, Dr. Zaidi explains the dangers of high blood pressure and lifestyle steps you can take to manage it.

Why you should be concerned about high blood pressure

There are many reasons people may develop chronic high blood pressure, or hypertension. Some medical conditions, such as kidney disease, can increase your blood pressure. 

More frequently, however, unhealthy actions and behaviors, such as smoking, eating a high-sodium diet, and avoiding physical activity, are the root causes of hypertension. Occasionally, people develop high blood pressure without an identifiable reason. 

You should be concerned about high blood pressure, because it’s linked to serious medical conditions, such as heart disease and stroke. What’s more? Since hypertension can take years to develop and doesn’t usually have any noticeable symptoms, it’s known as a “silent killer.” In other words, even without symptoms, high blood pressure can damage your heart and blood vessels. 

Getting your blood pressure evaluated at least once a year at your annual physical exam, and taking action if you’re told you have high blood pressure are both essential for managing high blood pressure and preventing further damage. 

Four lifestyle steps for managing high blood pressure

Lifestyle changes can help your numbers drop, and they play an important role in keeping them low. For example, quitting smoking is one of the most important steps you can take for the health of your heart. 

Fortunately, there are more things you can do to help manage your blood pressure. Here are our top four tips for controlling high blood pressure: 

1. Choose heart-healthy foods and exercise

Most people focus on changing their diets to help them shed excess weight, which is a good goal. But the food you eat can also impact your heart health and blood pressure in big ways. If you have high blood pressure, focus on a heart-healthy diet

When you can, choose blood-pressure friendly snacks, such as fruits and vegetables. Begin lunch and dinner with a large green salad to minimize unhealthy food consumption and boost your intake of veggies. You should also try to reduce or eliminate your intake of sugars, salts, and saturated fats. 

Incorporating regular physical activity is also an important step. We’ll work with you to create a customized heart-healthy eating plan and realistic physical activity plan for your unique needs.

2. Minimize alcohol use

While it’s true that alcohol has been shown to have an impact on lowering blood pressure, this is only true when it’s consumed in moderation. If you drink more than the recommended guidelines — even by just a little — your blood pressure can rise. If you can, try to avoid alcohol completely. If you’re not ready to give up alcohol, limit your daily consumption to one drink for women or two drinks for men.

3. Manage your stress

Life in modern America can be stressful. But if you have or are at risk of developing high blood pressure, managing your stress levels is an important lifestyle step to take. 

Stress is bad for your blood pressure, because when you experience stress, your body releases hormones as part of your “fight or flight” response. These hormones can increase your blood pressure, and although your body can handle the increase from time to time, constant or frequent stress can lead to serious damage. 

4. Monitor your blood pressure

One of the best lifestyle steps you can take to get a handle on your blood pressure is to monitor your numbers. Regular monitoring will help you see your day-to-day numbers as well as how different challenges — such as stress at work — or positive changes — such as an improved diet — affect your blood pressure.

Using a simple at-home blood pressure monitor is easy, and you can use it to compare your at-home results with those taken in our office. As you make important lifestyle changes, you’ll see your blood pressure improve and be motivated to continue.

To regain control of your health and lower your blood pressure, book an appointment online or over the phone with Integrative Primary Care today.

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