Saturday, May 12, 2007

7 Tips for Controlling Your Blood Pressure

So, you’ve been to the doctor and they’ve told you that you have high blood pressure, now what? The bad news is that high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. The good news is that most people don’t even need medication to lower their blood pressure; they just need to adopt some simple lifestyle changes.

Here are some steps you can take to get your blood pressure down to a healthy level.
  1. Lose weight. The incidence of hypertension is much higher in overweight and obese individuals. If you have a lot of weight to lose, don’t be discouraged. Even losing a few pounds should cause a drop in your blood pressure. You can use that to keep you motivated to lose more.
  2. Exercise more. Getting regular physical activity can help to lower blood pressure levels. If you don’t work out at all, try walking for half an hour everyday. You can then work your way up to more strenuous activities. Just remember, even a small amount of physical activity can help.
  3. Eat less salt. Instead of pouring salt on as a seasoning, add some spices instead. You’ll probably find a great flavor that’s a lot better for you. You should also start reading labels of prepackaged foods. Many of them have a lot more sodium than you’d imagine. Try replacing high sodium boxed dinners with a low sodium homemade dinner. Not only is it better for you, it also probably tastes better too.
  4. Quit Smoking. Not only does cigarette smoke cause irreparable damage to your lungs, it also raises your blood pressure. Lowering your blood pressure is just one of 1000 reasons you already have to throw out those cigarettes today.
  5. Drink only in moderation. If you drink more than one (women) or two (men) servings of alcohol a day, you may be increasing your blood pressure levels. Try cutting back to just a beer or glass of wine with dinner and you’ll probably see some improvement.
  6. Relax. While it may seem impossible to stop zipping around during the day, having a little bit of time set aside for relaxation can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Why not try yoga or meditation? If you have a bit of extra money, you could get a weekly massage. If none of these appeal to you, you can always just sit quietly and listen to music. As a bonus, if you take some relaxing time before you go to bed, you’ll sleep better and feel more energized in the morning.
  7. Eat more fruits and veggies. Having an ample supply of vitamins and nutrients will help your body function more properly and lower your blood pressure. You can get these nutrients by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.

While making one or two of these changes may help you a little bit, the best method for lowering your blood pressure is to make all these changes. They each make a little difference that adds up to a much healthier lifestyle and a better life.

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