Did you know that almost half of the adult population in the United States is living with hypertension, commonly referred to as high blood pressure? If you're part of this statistic, you're well aware that managing this condition is critical to maintaining your health.
Here at Integrative Primary Care in Katy, Texas, which serves the Houston area, our providers understand the risks associated with chronic hypertension. If you're coping with high blood pressure and seeking ways to reduce it, we're here to provide expert assistance.
In this blog, we explain some lifestyle changes you can make that can help you manage your condition.
Why is high blood pressure affecting me?
Hypertension develops differently in different people. Some people have what we refer to as secondary hypertension. This type of hypertension results from identifiable causes, such as kidney disease or complications with adrenal glands. Other known triggers include birth control pills and certain medications.
Most people, however, suffer from primary hypertension, where there's no discernible cause. Despite the lack of a concrete cause, medical research has identified a correlation between hypertension and various lifestyle factors:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High-sodium diet (too much salt)
- High-fat diet
- Unmanaged stress
- Alcohol consumption
Your risk of developing hypertension can also increase if you have a close family member with the condition. Additionally, some women may develop high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Do I need medication to lower my blood pressure?
Medication can play an important role, but there are also things you can do to lower your blood pressure that don’t involve drugs. By making healthy lifestyle changes, you can play an active role in decreasing your numbers and maintaining them at a healthy level.
Here are four key strategies you can use to control your blood pressure:
1. Embrace heart-healthy habits
The food you eat has a big influence on your blood pressure and overall heart health. For instance, consuming a diet rich in salt and fat increases your risk of having hypertension and other heart diseases.
Choose heart-friendly snacks, such as fruits and vegetables over salty, processed foods. And begin your meals with a hearty salad, which can help you increase your vegetable intake, satiate your appetite, and curb your consumption of unhealthy foods. These nutrient-dense foods can safeguard you against hypertension.
Additionally, try to minimize or remove sugars, salts, and saturated fats from your diet gradually. Consistently making heart-healthy choices can help steadily lower your numbers.
Exercise is equally important. By getting and staying more active — even if it’s a quick post-dinner walk through your neighborhood — you can improve your blood pressure without medications. Your provider at Integrative Primary Care can collaborate with you to devise a personalized diet plan and a realistic exercise regimen tailored to your needs.
2. Minimize your alcohol consumption
It may be tempting to wind down after a long day with a drink, but mounting evidence associates alcohol consumption with various health issues, including hypertension.
Try to abstain from alcohol or, at least, limit your intake to one drink per day for women and two for men. Even slight deviations from this guideline can elevate your blood pressure.
3. Cultivate healthy stress management techniques
While it's impossible to eliminate stress entirely from our lives, it's essential to learn how to cope with it healthily, particularly if you have hypertension. Chronic or frequent stress can inflict severe damage on your health.
This is because when you’re stressed, your body releases chemicals and adrenal hormones that increase your blood pressure. Chronic stress causes a long-term rise in these hormones, which can lead to lasting damage.
4. Regularly monitor your blood pressure
Take an active role in managing your hypertension by consistently keeping tabs on your numbers. This practice can help you track how various factors, such as a stressful day at work or positive changes in your lifestyle, can influence your blood pressure.
Managing high blood pressure requires dedication, but witnessing your numbers improve can motivate you to adhere to your heart-healthy habits.
To understand more about hypertension and how you can manage your blood pressure, call 832-500-7585 or book an appointment online with Integrative Primary Care today.