Cardiovascular Health

10 ways to manage hypertension effectively

By Philip Fenton - Aug 09, 2016
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Being diagnosed with hypertension certainly is a wakeup call for a lot of people – especially those who lead highly stressful lives that resulted in them having high blood pressure. Apart from taking your prescribed medication as treatment for hypertension, there are other things you can do in order to get your numbers under control. Here are 10 proven ways that can help you manage the condition effectively.

Lose weight

There is a relationship between weight increase and high blood pressure, so part of learning how to manage hypertension is also about keeping within a healthy weight range. In addition, being overweight might also result in sleep apnea (disrupted breathing), which further contributes to high blood pressure.

Exercise regularly

Part of knowing how to manage hypertension includes buckling down and working up a sweat. Half an hour of physical activity every week already does a lot to lower high blood pressure by 4 to 9 mm Hg. The trick is consistency – think of exercise as a maintenance treatment for hypertension because when you stop exercising, your blood pressure can go up again. Those who are already diagnosed with prehypertension will also do well to get in shape and exercise regularly to prevent the development of full-blown hypertension. Some ideal exercise routines for high blood pressure include swimming, walking, dancing, cycling, or jogging – all very easy and do not require complicated routines or know-how!

Eat healthy

Lowering high blood pressure also includes putting the good stuff in your body – and that includes whole grains, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and fruits. Steer clear of foods that are high in cholesterol and saturated fats. Boost your potassium intake because this tempers the negative effects of sodium on blood pressure.

Stay away from sodium-rich foods

In line with eating healthy, a special emphasis on removing sodium from your diet is also important in the treatment for hypertension. Generally speaking, limiting sodium to about 2,300 mg per day (or even less, for good measure) is a good starting off point. Those with salt sensitivity (people older than 51 years old, those diagnosed with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or high blood pressure) will do well to take no more than 1,500 mg per day. Reducing your sodium intake also includes avoiding processed foods, choosing low-sodium alternatives of favorite food items, and substituting herbs and spices instead of salt for flavoring your home cooked meals.

Ease up on the alcohol

Being mindful of the amount of alcohol consumed, is one of the most important hypertension treatment guidelines. Very small amounts of alcohol has the potential to lower blood pressure, but in itself is not a treatment for hypertension. Drinking too much will lose it protective effect. About one drink (5 oz. of wine) per day is recommended, any more than that will already be counterproductive to your efforts at lowering blood pressure. What’s more, going above the recommended amount can also reduce your blood pressure medication’s effectiveness.

Stop smoking

Each stick of cigarette that you consume will elevate your blood pressure for a number of minutes soon after smoking it. Smoking is bad, period – and those who quit this nasty habit will find that their blood pressure will go back to normal.

Taper off your caffeine habit

Whether you take coffee or tea, the energy you get from caffeine kicks can raise your blood pressure to a significant level of 10 mm Hg. Habitual coffee drinkers may experience a smaller increase, but managing hypertension also includes cutting back on this blood pressure-increasing element. To find out if (and how much) caffeine increases your blood pressure, conduct a blood pressure check after consuming a caffeinated beverage.

Make a conscious effort to reduce stress in your life

Treatment for hypertension is never complete without a reduction of stress, which not only includes stopping the bad habits mentioned previously busy also really taking a closer look at the things that stress you out in life (relationships, work stress, etc.). You may rethink your working hours or aim to spend more time with your spouse to improve the relationship. When things are ‘unmovable’, the best way to cope is to change your expectations. Lighten your load by reducing the amount of stuff you think you can control and let as many things as possible, be. Also engage in relaxation techniques that will help you feel better: aromatherapy, yoga, breathing exercises, or regular trips to the spa. These little indulgences might very well be the things that keep you from developing high blood pressure.

Always monitor your blood pressure and schedule regular visits to your doctor

It is essential that you do regular monitoring so that if there is a sudden spike, you can make a conscious effort to relax or do something to lower it. There might be a need to further step up your efforts in terms of lifestyle changes to address the sudden high blood pressure. Blood pressure monitors are easy to come across, with a variety of models available in most pharmacies. Also, regularly visiting your doctor will ensure that you are indeed able to control your blood pressure within manageable levels. If this is under control, then you might only need to see your doctor every six or twelve months.

Seek support

A supportive set of friends and family will greatly contribute in your treatment for hypertension. While most of the efforts will be of your own doing, it really helps when you have companions in exercising, healthy eating, blood pressure monitoring, and more. If you are struggling with the lifestyle changes, these people will also be your cheerleaders to motivate you as you adjust to your new, hypertension managing lifestyle. Failing to take the recommended measures will force your health to go beyond the mere hypertension signs and symptoms, causing other conditions to creep in.

Managing hypertension is not something that is easy to accomplish on the first try, but with the desire to stay healthy and a support system you will surely get to enjoy the fruits of your labors in the form of a stable blood pressure!

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