High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is one of the most common health problems affecting American adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half of all American adults (approximately 47%) suffer from high blood pressure. If left untreated, high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, which are the leading causes of death in the United States.
While several risk factors contribute to high blood pressure, there are proactive steps you can take to lower your blood pressure and manage cardiovascular and other health risks.
At Midwest Regional Health Services, our primary care doctors and specialists offer hypertension treatment and management services at our office in Omaha, Nebraska.
5 ways to lower your blood pressure
Even healthy and physically fit people can suffer from high blood pressure, so it’s important to know your status even if you don’t believe you’re at risk. Here are five things you can do to lower your blood pressure if you suffer from hypertension, and to keep it within a healthy range in the short- and long-term.
1. Maintain a health weight
Being overweight or obese can lead to many different health problems, including high blood pressure. Making healthy lifestyle modifications like eating a well-balanced and healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help you shed unwanted pounds and keep your blood pressure within a healthy range. If you need help creating a safe and effective weight loss plan, we can help!
2. Don’t ignore stress
No one is immune from stress, especially during difficult and chaotic times. But chronic stress can also lead to a number of health issues, including high blood pressure. That’s especially true if you use unhealthy coping mechanisms to manage your stress, such as drinking too much alcohol, smoking, or eating an unhealthy diet.
Stress triggers your body’s “fight-or-flight” response, which releases hormones like cortisol. However this response is only meant to protect you from danger in the short-term, and if left unchecked, it can actually lead to health issues like weight gain, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune response to healing.
3. Quit smoking
The dangers of smoking are well known, but it also causes high blood pressure by narrowing your blood vessels and increasing your heart rate. If you need help quitting, contact us today for more information.
4. Know your risk
While lifestyle factors like diet and exercise are important, some people may have a higher risk for hypertension due to factors like family history, age, sex, race, and ethnicity, according to the CDC. If you’re unsure of your personal risk and it’s been longer than a year since your last annual physical, schedule an appointment today for routine health screenings and more information.
5. Watch your sodium intake
Like sugar, many processed foods and pre-packaged meals contain high levels of sodium (table salt). The CDC recommends keeping your daily sodium intake under 2300 mg to stay healthy. Along with eating enough fiber and fruits and vegetables, keeping your sodium consumption within a healthy range will help you avoid hypertension and maintain a healthy weight and normal blood pressure levels.
For more information about high blood pressure and what you can do to manage your risk for cardiovascular disease and other health problems, contact us today to schedule an appointment with a primary care specialist.