Health Tips To Be Aware Of During National Blood Pressure Month
Almost half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure (Trusted Source). Risk factors that can increase your risk of high blood pressure include health conditions, lifestyle, and family history. Although some of the risk factors for high blood pressure cannot be controlled, like your age and family history, you can take steps to lower your risk by changing things you can control.
Your blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury, abbreviated as mm Hg. There are two numbers involved in the measurement:
- Systolic blood pressure. The top number represents the pressure force when your heart pushes blood into the arteries throughout the rest of your body.
- Diastolic blood pressure. The bottom number represents the pressure in your blood vessels between beats when your heart is filling and relaxing.
Here's the good news if you do have elevated blood pressure, you can make changes to significantly reduce your numbers and lower your risk — without requiring medications. Let's find out how.
Effective Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure
1. Increase activity and exercise more. Increasing your activity level can be as simple as using the stairs instead of the elevator. Choose walking instead of driving. Do household chores and try gardening. Go for a bike ride instead of watching a tv show at night. Join a local sports league, dancing, or exercise class.
2. Eat a heart-healthy diet. The DASH diet is a healthy-eating plan explicitly designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure. This diet includes foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and such nutrients help control blood pressure. The diet limits foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. See more heart-healthy food ideas here.
3. Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is essential to your overall health. According to Heart.org, studies show that short sleep duration or poor sleep quality is associated with high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and atherosclerosis. Practice good sleep habits, and you will be less likely to develop a sleep disorder that could affect your health.
4. Reduce stressors in your life. There's no question that we are living in stressful times. We have workplace and family demands and national and international politics. The list could go on, right? Well, the key is going to be how to prevent stress. Look for ways to reduce your stress, like listening to music, going for a walk, getting a massage, or taking a relaxing bath.
5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. If you drink alcohol, limit your alcohol consumption to two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. A drink is one 12 oz. Beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits. And if you're wondering if red wine counts, unfortunately, the claim that it's good for your heart health is a myth. The linkage reported in many of these studies may be due to other lifestyle factors rather than alcohol.
6. Commit to losing weight. If you're overweight, losing just 5 to 10 pounds can help to reduce your blood pressure. If you needed more reasons to lose some unwanted pounds, you would also lower your risk of other potential medical problems. Less medical problems mean less money out of your pocket!
If you need some inspiration to get moving, get filled with motivation by reading our move tips!