High blood pressure doesn’t usually cause symptoms and may not be a health condition you worry too much about. However, having high blood pressure puts you at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
At Central Clinic in Spring Hill, Florida, our family medicine physician Dr. Poonam Malhotra takes a holistic and integrative approach to health and wellness. Before prescribing medication to treat health conditions like high blood pressure, we first focus on lifestyle.
Here, we want to share with you some lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure numbers.
1. Check your blood pressure
Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the course of a day. Though we check your blood pressure every time you come in for care, you don’t have to wait until your annual physical for a blood pressure reading.
Checking your numbers at home may give you a better sense of how your daily routine affects your numbers. You can find affordable home blood pressure machines at your local pharmacy or big box store.
Check your blood pressure daily at different times throughout the day. Keep track of your readings and share them with us so we can provide targeted care that improves your numbers.
2. Commit to quit
It’s no secret that smoking is very harmful to your health. But did you know that every time you smoke a cigarette, your blood pressure goes up and stays up?
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to lower your blood pressure numbers and improve your overall health. We know how hard it is to stop smoking, but there’s no need to do it all on your own. We can design a smoking cessation program that works for you.
3. Limit alcohol intake
When it comes to alcohol and health, the messaging is a bit confusing. However, there’s no question that drinking too much alcohol is bad for your health and one of the factors that may put you at risk of developing high blood pressure.
If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Moderate consumption of alcohol means no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. One drink equals 1.5 ounces of spirits, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.
4. Add more physical activity
Adding 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity — such as a brisk walk, a bike ride, or low-impact aerobics ― most days of the week may lower your blood pressure by as much as 8 points.
You don’t even have to do the entire 30 minutes of exercise at one time to get the benefits. Going on three 10-minute walks works just as well. However, consistency is the key, so choose a physical activity you like and can easily maintain.
5. Reduce stress
No doubt, the demands of daily life leave you feeling stressed and worn out. But chronic stress affects your blood pressure. Taking a few moments for yourself can do wonders for your well-being and your blood pressure.
You can even see for yourself how easy it is to lower your stress and your blood pressure. When feeling stressed, check your blood pressure with your home blood pressure monitor. Then, find a quiet comfortable spot and breathe in deeply and slowly for three minutes.
Recheck your numbers; you may be surprised at how much your blood pressure drops after this simple stress-reducing exercise.
6. Eat a balanced diet
Poor nutrition is one of the lifestyle factors that puts you at risk of developing chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. Improving your nutrition can improve your blood pressure and your risk of developing other health problems.
First, start by reducing your daily sodium intake. In addition to taking the salt shaker off the table, read food labels and look for low-sodium options. Packaged foods are the primary source of sodium in the American diet, so try to eat more fresh, whole foods.
Second, increase your intake of potassium-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. Getting more potassium in your diet lowers your blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables are also naturally low in sodium.
Whether you take blood pressure medication or not, making lifestyle changes is the best way to lower your numbers. Let us help you make those changes. Call our office or request an appointment online today.