High blood pressure must be managed. It’s a silent killer that slowly damages blood vessels and seriously threatens your health. Prescription medications are a common therapy to help keep blood pressure in check, but medication is not the only strategy that can help you successfully lower your high blood pressure.
Here at First Choice Medical PLLC, Dr. Lawrence Goldman helps patients manage their hypertension through medications and lifestyle changes. Consider the following lifestyle strategies that can help lower your blood pressure.
If you’re overweight, even a small amount of weight loss can help lower your blood pressure. Lose just 5-10% of your weight and reap benefits. This means if you weigh 200 pounds, a loss of just 10-20 pounds can impact hypertension
To lose weight, focus on a healthier diet that includes lean proteins, fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. Ditch the soda, fancy coffee, candy, fast food, and processed snacks. Emphasize appropriate portion sizes, such as 4-6 ounces of protein and a half cup of grains at meals.
Exercise can help you lose weight, but it does much more. Exercise strengthens your heart, improves circulation, and it can even reduce stress. Aim to fit in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio most days of the week, which can lower your blood pressure by 4-9 millimeters of mercury. Good choices include cycling, jogging, aerobic dance, swimming, and tennis. If exercise is new to you, talk to the staff at First Choice Medical for guidance about how to start.
A healthy diet for hypertension is reduced in sodium. Too much sodium in your bloodstream causes your blood vessels to hold onto more water. This increases the amount of blood flowing through your vessels, thereby increasing blood pressure.
Even if you don’t keep a salt shaker on the table, you may have too much sodium in your diet. Processed foods -- especially canned soups, salad dressings, snack mixes, and fast food -- are a large contributor of sodium to your diet. Read food labels and choose low-sodium options when possible. Aim to consume less than 2,300 milligrams per day, and less than 1,500 milligrams if you’ve already been diagnosed with hypertension.
A celebratory glass of wine or beer can be a healthy part of your diet, but overconsumption of alcohol raises your blood pressure. Stick to no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman, or two drinks per day if you’re a man. A serving size is 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or a shot -- 1.5 ounces -- of hard alcohol.
Stress contributes to a notable increase in your blood pressure. Stress is a part of life though, so you can learn how to manage it better. Ways to cope with stress include avoiding stressful situations, such as people who trigger anger or high-traffic routes when you’re driving. Avoid overscheduling yourself, and learn to say no to commitments that are voluntary.
Other ideas include practicing gratitude by keeping a journal nightly to help you remember what’s going right in your life. Also indulge in relaxing self care through doing yoga or meditation, taking a hot bath, and doing breathwork.
If you’d like to come in for a blood pressure checkup, call the office in Holbrook, New York, or use our convenient online booking tool to make an appointment.