High blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high. Having high blood pressure can cause harm by increasing the workload of the heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, and vision loss. While there is no cure yet for primary high blood pressure, you can successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle.
Here are three ways you can control high blood pressure:
Maintain a Healthy Weight
When you are overweight or obese, your heart works harder to pump blood throughout your body, putting strain on your arteries. As your weight increases, so does your blood pressure.
Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight are among the most effective ways to prevent and/or control high blood pressure. One study found that reduced sodium intake and weight loss constituted a feasible, effective and safe nonpharmacologic therapy of hypertension in older people.
Here are a few tips for maintaining a healthy weight:
- Limit portion size
- Be physically active at least three to five days a week
- Add healthy snacks into your diet
- Cut out sugary drinks
Eat a Healthy Diet
The saying, “you are what you eat,” is true. The food you put in your body reflects your overall health. When you consume a diet that is high in salt, sugar, and saturated or trans fats, you are increasing your blood pressure and the risk for heart disease. Some high sodium foods that may make your blood pressure go up include processed foods, canned soups, deli meats, condiments, and frozen foods.
The DASH eating plan is a flexible and balanced eating plan designed to help manage blood pressure. This eating plan recommends:
- Eating vegetables, fruits and whole grains
- Limiting sweets, added sugars and sugar-containing beverages
- Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and vegetable oils
- Limiting foods high in saturated fat
- Limiting sodium intake
Physical activity not only helps you manage your weight and strengthens your heart, but it also helps control your blood pressure. The key guidelines for physical activity for adults include doing at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity a week.
At The Kidney and Hypertension Center, we provide consultation and ongoing care to prevent and treat hypertension. Schedule your appointment today!