Understanding Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (or hypertension) is a common condition amongst seniors. It can often lead to serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. American Heart Association states that blood pressure lower than 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal. However, blood pressure that’s 130/80 mm Hg or more is considered to be high. Don’t worry! There are many things you can do to lower your blood pressure! By making the following lifestyle changes, it is possible to reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are 10 ways to lower blood pressure:
It is recommended by doctors to exercise for at least thirty minutes per day throughout the week. Exercising is perfect for reducing blood pressure and improving your overall cardiovascular health. Try something new like riding a bike, jogging, swimming, or even dancing! Even better, get your friend or family member to join you.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Another way to lower blood pressure is to maintain a healthy diet. Try incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your meals. Potassium and magnesium-rich foods are excellent since they are also known to regulate your heart rate and help your blood vessels relax. The DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet is geared explicitly towards lowering one’s blood pressure. Speak with your local dietitian about how you can make these changes in your diet.
Reduce Excess Stress
When you find yourself in a stressful situation, your body produces a surge of hormones. These hormones temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow. Find ways to manage your stress or even reduce it. For example, try to listen to calm music, yoga, or simplify your work schedule. Discover what works for you!
Cut back on Caffeine
This may be hard to hear, especially if you love coffee, but try to limit your consumption of caffeine. Although this may not apply to everyone, some people may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. Studies show that caffeine’s effect on raising blood pressure is more significant if your blood pressure is already high. So if you want to lower your blood pressure, consider cutting back on that cup of coffee and other caffeinated beverages.
Limit Alcohol Intake
It is essential to drink alcohol in moderation. Even if you are healthy, alcohol raises your blood pressure by 1 mm Hg for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed. Limit your alcohol intake to one drink a day (for women) and two drinks a day (for men).
Reduce Sodium in Diet
To reduce the amount of sodium you consume in your diet, consider reading food labels on packages. You’ll be surprised how much hidden sodium can be found within your favorite foods. Choose low sodium alternatives of what you usually buy at the grocery store. Attempt to eat less processed foods and don’t add salt!
Smoking causes a temporary increase in your blood pressure and heart rate. Over time, the chemicals in tobacco ultimately damage one’s blood vessel walls, causing inflammation, and narrows the arteries. By quitting, it will decrease the risk of developing heart disease.
There are natural supplements that may also help lower blood pressure. Here are some supplements that doctors usually recommend to those with high blood pressure; fish oil, folic acid, vitamin d, fiber, and melatonin. Natural supplements are a great way to lower blood pressure, but they may also interact with blood pressure medications. To be careful, speak with your doctor before you try taking supplements!
Get Restful Sleep
Make sure to get good sleep! Those who experience sleep deprivation typically have an increased risk of high blood pressure. The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting around 8 hours of sleep per night. So make your bedroom comfortable and avoid daytime naps to achieve restful sleep!
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Out of the 10 ways to lower your blood pressure, it is essential to monitor your blood pressure regularly. American Heart Association recommends those with high blood pressure to use an at-home monitor. Be sure to measure it at the same time every day and record the results. Home monitoring will help you keep track of your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about home monitoring before you get started.
All in all, these are 10 ways to lower your blood pressure. If you have any trouble with making the following lifestyle changes, consider joining a support group, or ask friends and family to be there for you! Doing so will help encourage you to take care of yourself and will help improve your health in the long run.