High Blood Pressure Treatment
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition that can have serious consequences if not promptly treated. More than 76.4 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. It can also increase your risk of developing kidney disease and hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis). Treating high blood pressure is critical to avoid the ill effects of hypertension and to achieve optimal health.
People with high blood pressure have increased tension in the arteries, which are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. When your blood pressure is read, the result is two numbers. The top number is referred to as the systolic blood pressure and measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure and measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxed.
Normal blood pressure falls below 120/80. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89, you are considered “pre-hypertension.” If your blood pressure is 140/90 or above, it’s considered high, while a systolic blood pressure of 90 to 100 is considered low. If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to create a treatment plan to control and manage your blood pressure.
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Blood Pressure
Lifestyle plays a major role in treating high blood pressure. If you can successfully control your blood pressure through diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle, you may avoid, delay or reduce the need for blood pressure medication. Here you will find several lifestyle changes that can help lower your blood pressure, keep it at a healthy level, and promote better overall health.
Watch Your Weight:Blood pressure often increases as your weight increases. In general, the more weight you lose, the lower your blood pressure will be. People who take blood pressure medication often find that their medications are more effective after weight loss. In addition to general weight loss, it’s also important to reduce the weight around your waist. Excess weight around the waistline can put you at a greater risk for high blood pressure.
Exercise Regularly:Opt for at least 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days of the week. Regular exercise can lower your blood pressure by as much as 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury. Consult with your physician about developing an exercise plan that works with your current health and lifestyle. Even brief, moderate activities, such as walking, can help you on your way to a normal blood pressure.
Eat Healthier:One of the best things you can do to achieve a healthier blood pressure is by eating right. Try to consume a well-rounded diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Try to keep saturated fat and cholesterol to a minimum to lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. To help you on your journey to eating healthy, consider keeping a food journal to monitor what you eat.
Cut Down on Sodium:Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet can help reduce your blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg. Read food labels to see what exactly is in the foods you eat, and choose low-sodium alternatives when possible. Eat fewer processed foods, such as frozen dinners, processed lunch meats, and potato chips which can be very high in sodium. Instead of using salt, add herbs and spices to your foods when cooking and preparing meals.
Living with untreated high blood pressure can lead to organ-damage, and increases your risk of kidney disease, heart disease, hardening of the arteries, eye damage, stroke, and increased risk of aneurysms. In addition to medications, many people with high blood pressure have found successful in controlling their condition by making healthy lifestyle changes. Talk to your doctor today about what you can do to get on the road to a healthier life and controlled blood pressure.