How to lower your blood pressure
High blood pressure has no warning signs or symptoms — but it’s one health issue you can prevent or treat, as long as you know you have it. Have your blood pressure checked regularly!
If you do have high blood pressure, you can often control or lower it through the following lifestyle changes:
LOSE EXTRA POUNDS
Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure. And watch your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.
All types of exercise can help lower blood pressure — walking, running, cycling, dancing, swimming, even lifting weights. Aim for at least 30 min a day!
EAT A HEALTHY DIET
Research the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which is a popular eating plan including whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
REDUCE SODIUM IN YOUR DIET
Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure. Limit sodium to less than one teaspoon of salt a day (2,300 milligrams).
In small amounts, alcohol can potentially lower your blood pressure. But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much — generally more than one drink a day for women and for men 65+, and no more than two drinks a day for men under 65.
Each cigarette increases blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Quitting smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. People who quit smoking, regardless of age, have substantial increases in life expectancy.
REDUCE YOUR STRESS
Chronic stress can make you more likely to overeat and skip exercise, which puts you at risk for high blood pressure. Try meditation, yoga or schedule some “you time.”
MONITOR YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
Blood pressure monitors are available widely and without a prescription. Talk to your doctor about home monitoring before you get started.
Supportive family and friends can help encourage you to take better care of yourself, drive you to the doctor’s office or embark on an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low.
Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Anything over that is a concern. 140/90 or higher is considered high blood pressure.
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