Healthy Lifestyle Changes to Help Control Your High Blood Pressure

Robin Reichert By Robin Reichert, 15th May 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Diet & Nutrition

A few simple lifestyle changes that involve eating right and exercise may help reduce your need for high blood pressure medication. If you lose weight, exercise and eat right, you can lower your blood pressure. Do not stop taking your medication unless your doctor tells you to stop.

Healthy Lifestyle Changes to Help Control Your High Blood Pressure

People who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure (or hypertension) do not necessarily have to spend the rest of their lives taking medication. In some cases, healthy lifestyle changes can help you control this disease. A person has high blood pressure if their pressure is measured at 140 or higher (systolic pressure) over 90 or higher (diastolic pressure). Not everyone who has been diagnosed with hypertension will be able to completely stop taking medication, but some changes in diet and exercise may reduce the need for medication. Never stop taking your prescribed medication. Always follow your doctor's advice.

If you are overweight, the first thing to do to help reduce your blood pressure is to lose weight. Losing even a few pounds can make a big difference in your overall health. Medications may be more effective if you weigh less. Your doctor can advise you about a good target weight based on your height, age and medical history. Focus on losing unhealthy belly fat. Abdominal fat contributes to serious health conditions, including hypertension.

Begin a regular exercise program to help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure. People with slightly elevated blood pressure may be able to avoid getting this condition by starting a program of eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. Studies have shown that exercising between 30 and 60 minutes per day several times each week can lower your blood pressure up to 9 millimeters of mercury (measurement of blood pressure also noted as "mm"). Exercises, such as brisk walks or riding a bicycle for 15 to 20 minutes every other day will help.

Change the way you eat and what you eat. Drop the greasy burgers for healthy fruits and vegetables. Trade in your French fries for whole grains, nuts and berries. Keep a food diary, and write down every food you eat for one week. If you keep a true record of what you eat, when you eat it and why you ate the food, the diary will shed light on your eating habits and may help you decide to make important lifestyle changes.

Decrease your sodium intake by consuming fewer snack foods, such as potato chips, and cut back on processed foods. Eat less bacon and try to avoid lunch meats because they are usually very high in sodium. Small amounts of alcohol can help lower your blood pressure, but drinking in excess can have a reverse effect. Reduce the amount of caffeine in your diet and make sure you get enough potassium in your diet. Ask your doctor about ways to increase the potassium in your system. Potassium helps keep sodium in the body from increasing blood pressure. Try to get your potassium needs from healthy fruits and vegetables rather than from supplements or medication. Your doctor can tell you how much potassium you need.


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Meet the author

author avatar Robin Reichert
I'm an AFPA certified nutrition consultant, AFPA certified personal trainer, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, as well as an online fitness coach and a professional freelance writer.

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