A healthy lifestyle can help people with a variety of ailments and diseases better manage them, leading to a better quality of life. High blood pressure is one of the diseases that can be best controlled with a healthy lifestyle. In some people, a healthy lifestyle can prevent the development of hypertension.
Many of us have repeatedly heard “lose weight and exercise more” because it will help a person maintain better health. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly can go a long way in preventing and managing hypertension.
High blood pressure and heavy weight are closely related. Being overweight significantly increases a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure. An overweight person increases the risk up to six times. But, when a person begins to lose the extra pounds, their blood pressure generally drops as well.
Try to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
Exercise is another important factor in the prevention and control of high blood pressure (managing/high blood pressure and exercise). Exercise strengthens the heart and allows it to pump blood throughout the body with less effort. The easier it is for the heart to pump blood, the easier it is for the arteries.
Regular physical activity helps a person achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The latest federal guidelines suggest that a person engage in moderate physical activity for 30 to 60 minutes a day, 5 to 7 days a week. Walking is a good physical activity, especially for people just starting an exercise routine. Swimming, biking, and jogging are also great forms of exercise. Additionally, federal guidelines suggest that a person participate in strenuous physical activities, such as strength training, three times a week for at least 20 minutes each time.
Smoking is bad for the heart, and nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict, constricting blood vessels and making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. Smoking also interferes with some blood pressure medications, making them much less effective. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of hypertension, will help control existing high blood pressure, and will also reduce a person’s risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Quitting smoking is very difficult, perhaps the hardest thing a person can do, but doing so is very important to improving a person’s health.
Avoiding excess sodium is suggested to help control and prevent hypertension, although there have been controversies in recent years as to whether or not reducing sodium intake has a significant effect on blood pressure. It may not have much of an impact, but even a small reduction in sodium can have a positive effect on a person’s health.
Take all prescription high blood pressure medications as directed; do not skip doses or stop taking them completely. If, after taking medication for a period of time, your blood pressure returns to normal, it does not mean that that person’s blood pressure has returned to normal. It means the drug is doing its job and controlling your blood pressure. Medications for blood pressure must be taken indefinitely, often for life.
Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Not only can it cause high blood pressure, it is also harmful to the liver and kidneys.
While studies haven’t shown whether or not caffeine affects hypertension, some studies have shown that people who consume caffeine regularly every day have higher blood pressure than people who don’t. On the other hand, some studies have shown that people eventually develop a tolerance to caffeine and therefore it no longer affects blood pressure. As a precautionary measure, doctors often advise patients with high blood pressure to limit their caffeine intake.