woman with high blood pressure

High Blood Pressure Management

Untreated, hypertension (high blood pressure) can lead to serious problems such as heart attack and stroke. 

If you’re one of the one in three Americans suffering from this condition, 1 lifestyle plays an important part in treating your high blood pressure. Some patients are able to successfully control blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle. Committing to such a lifestyle may help you delay, reduce, or even remove the need for medication.

Here are some lifestyle changes you can make to control hypertension.

 

Eat a healthy diet

Make smart choices in your diet including fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. Avoid cholesterol, sodium, processed foods, and saturated fat as much as possible. 

Keeping a log of what you eat even for a little while to gain insight into how much and what you’re consuming. There are a variety of apps out there that can help log meals and break down the nutrients for you. 

Make a plan before you go out to eat or to the grocery store. Proper planning can help you avoid making unhealthy decisions. 

Potassium is also an important nutrient. It may lessen the effects of sodium on your blood pressure. The best way to receive potassium is food, not supplements. Discuss with your doctor to learn the potassium level that’s best for you.

 

Limit alcohol 

Drink alcohol only in moderation. The recommendation is no more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men. Drinking above the recommendation not only raises blood pressure by several points, but it also may reduce the effectiveness of medication for hypertension. 

 

Lose weight if needed 

Weight loss is very effective for controlling blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight may reduce your blood pressure. 

Besides weight loss, keep an eye on your waistline. Men with a waist measurement greater than 40 inches generally have hypertension. Women are at risk if they have a waist measurement above 35 inches.

 

These numbers do vary among ethnic groups. Ask your doctor what is healthy for you. 

 

Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity, 150 minutes a week, can lower blood pressure. It’s important to be consistent. Blood pressure can rise again if you stop exercising regularly.

 

Quit smoking

The benefits of not smoking are numerous.  Quitting reduces your risk of heart disease and improves your overall health and may lengthen your life.

 

Cut back on caffeine

Caffeine doesn’t affect everyone the same. In fact, those that regularly drink coffee may not notice a rise in blood pressure. 

Take your blood pressure before and after having caffeine. If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg within 30 minutes of caffeine consumption,  you may be sensitive to caffeine. 

 

Reduce stress

Chronic stress may contribute to hypertension. More research is needed to determine the effects of chronic stress on blood pressure. If you respond to occasional stress in unhealthy ways such as drinking alcohol, smoking or overeating. 

Take some time to think about what causes you to stress and consider ways you can reduce or eliminate stress. This may include activities like exercise, hobbies, and finding quiet time alone. 

 

Monitor your blood pressure regularly 

Regular visits with your doctor help manage hypertension. Your doctor may suggest checking your blood pressure daily with an at-home monitor. If you’ve had a recent medication change, your doctor may recommend that you check it beginning two weeks after starting the medication. 

 

 

Learn more about our advanced cardiac care at ccmhhealth.com/heart-and-vascular.

 

Sources 

 

1 Merai R, Siegel C, Rakotz M, Basch P, Wright J, Wong B, Thorpe P. CDC Grand Rounds: A Public Health Approach to Detect and Control Hypertension. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65(45):1261–1264.

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

 

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.