High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition that puts you at risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. It does not usually cause symptoms but can be serious. Elevated blood pressure, or prehypertension, will likely turn into high blood pressure unless lifestyle changes are made.
When you get your blood pressure checked, you will receive 2 numbers, like 140 over 90. The top number, also called systolic pressure, measures the pressure inside your arteries when your heart is contracting. The bottom number, called diastolic, is the pressure inside your arteries when your heart is relaxed.
Elevated blood pressure is a term healthcare professionals use as a warning. People with elevated blood pressure do not yet have high blood pressure but their levels are not as low as it should be for good health.
Here are a few lifestyle changes you can make to improve your heart health and lower blood pressure.
- Limit Alcohol Use. If you drink alcohol, have no more than one drink per day. That equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
- Use Less Salt. Season your meals with herbs, spices, and lemon instead. Sodium is hidden in many packaged and processed foods. Check your product labels for the amount of sodium in each serving. Strive for a daily total intake of no more than 6 grams or 2,400 milligrams of sodium.
- Be Physically Active. Even low to moderate activity, if done regularly, can help control and prevent high blood pressure. Walking, doing yard work, moderate housework, and at-home exercise are activities you can do every day.
- Lose Weight. Weight loss will help lower blood pressure levels. Being overweight raises the chances of developing heart disease and losing weight can lower your risk.
- Watch Your Diet. Include foods in your diet that are low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
- Know Your Levels. Use an at-home blood pressure meter to monitor your levels. People who check their blood pressure at home do better at keeping it low.
- Quit Smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes raises your blood pressure and heart rate. Quitting or decreasing your smoking intake can help you reduce your risk.
If you have more questions about your life with high blood pressure contact one of our health coaches today or call us at 1-866-511-0360.
Want advice on changing your diet and starting your journey towards a healthier life? Start here.