High blood pressure can increase the likelihood of you developing coronary heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. But if you can successfully control your blood pressure by changing your lifestyle, you can hopefully delay or even avoid the need for medication completely. Here are our top tips for reducing high blood pressure.
1. Exercise Regularly
Your lifestyle plays a big role in maintaining healthy blood pressure, so taking part in regular exercise can help to combat the negative effects. Regular exercise, even just 30 minutes a day, can help to lower your blood pressure by as much as 5mm Hg – a significant amount if you have high blood pressure.
The key to seeing success with this, however, is to be consistent. When you stop exercising regularly, your blood pressure may rise again. You can mix up the exercises you do to keep things interesting, but try to spend a few days a week doing aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, swimming or cycling. High-intensity interval training can also be a great option if you’re short on time, as you can see great results in just 15-20 minutes.
2. Stick To a Healthy Diet
Eating a diet that’s rich in fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes can help to lower your blood pressure. Keep your intake of saturated fats and cholesterol to a minimum and lower your intake of sodium as this can increase your blood pressure (a healthy intake of 1,500mg or less a day is ideal for most adults).
Not only will lowering your consumption of fat and salt help with maintaining healthy blood pressure, but it will also help you maintain a healthy weight too. Those who are overweight can struggle with high blood pressure, among other health problems, so it’s worth keeping an eye on your weight and waist measurements to stay healthy.
3. Quit smoking
With each cigarette you smoke, you risk increasing your blood pressure levels. Quitting smoking can be challenging, but your body can start reaping the rewards as soon as hours after your last cigarette, and within the following weeks and months, your body will begin to return to a healthy state.
From going ‘cold turkey’ to seeking assistance from stop smoking treatments, there are many ways to quit the habit for good.
4. Give up alcohol
The occasional glass of wine won’t do any harm, but regular intake of alcohol can be detrimental to your health. Not only does drinking moderate amounts of alcohol impact your blood pressure but it can also increase your weight and lead to liver and kidney problems long-term. Similarly, it can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications, so it’s a good idea to minimise your intake.
5. Lower your stress
Chronic stress has been attributed to high blood pressure and it can also increase the chance of you reaching for alcohol, unhealthy food or cigarettes as a way of coping with a stressful lifestyle.
Consider your lifestyle and how you can find ways to reduce your stress, from your job and finances to your family life and relationships. You may need to change your expectations, reconsider your schedule or focus on the issues you can control so you can make plans to resolve the problems in your life that are causing you stress. It’s also important to make time for relaxing activities so that you have the chance to calm down and take time for yourself.
If you think you might be struggling with high blood pressure, or you have symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, blurred vision, headaches or nosebleeds, it’s crucial that you speak to your doctor so that they can check your blood pressure isn’t at a dangerous level. Many people have high blood pressure but are unaware that they do, which can lead to detrimental effects long-term - getting your health checked regularly is key to keeping blood pressure levels at a healthy rate.