Controlling High Blood Pressure

Hi everyone, one of the common ailments that we see in the clinic is high blood pressure. In fact, patients often come into the clinic with high blood pressure and are completely unaware of it. It is estimated that nearly half, around 47% of adults, have hypertension, which is defined as a systolic blood pressure (upper number) greater than 130 and diastolic blood pressure (lower number) greater than 80. As your blood pressure increases, it increases your risk for damage to your heart and arteries. As your arteries become less elastic, the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and body tissues is decreased. This can then lead to stroke, vision loss, heart failure, heart attack, kidney disease or kidney failure and sexual dysfunction. So… I would like to take a few minutes to share some great tips from the Mayo Clinic that describe some great ways to effect important lifestyle changes to help reduce your blood pressure, improve your health and delay or reduce the need for medication as you get older.

1. As you gain weight, your blood pressure also increases. In addition, it increases the risk of sleep apnea, which raises your blood pressure even more. Reducing your weight is very effective in helping you control your blood pressure. Your blood pressure will typically go down by 1 point for each kilogram you lose, especially around your waist. Men should roughly aim for a waist smaller than 40 inches and women less than 35 inches.

2. Getting regular exercise can lower your blood pressure by 5 to 8 points on average. You should aim for 30 minutes a day or about 150 minutes per week. Try aerobic exercise such as walking, cycling, swimming, running, or dancing. Both high intensity interval training and strength training are very effective and should be done several times per week.

3. Eating a healthy diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy can reduce your blood pressure by up to 11 points. Do some research on a Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet for more specifics. Remember to eat, potassium-rich sources of food to offset sodium in your diet, as well.

4. Keep track of the amount of sodium (salt) that you eat because small amounts can make a big difference. You can improve your blood pressure by up to 6 points by limiting sodium to less than 2300 mg per day. 1500 mg per day is ideal. So, check your food labels, eat fewer processed foods, don't add salt, and cook your own food, so you know what's going in it.

5. Minimize your alcohol intake, drinking less than one drink per day for women or two for men. This can lower your blood pressure by about four points. Remember one drink is a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of 80 proof liquor.

6. Stop smoking. If you quit smoking, this will not only reduce your blood pressure but also your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health.

7. Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is critical in maintaining good health. Remember to stick to a consistent sleep schedule every day - maintain a cool, dark, quiet, place to sleep - create a relaxing routine before bed - avoid screens and TVs as part of your nighttime routine - and avoid naps during the day if possible. Don't eat 2 to 3 hours before bed and avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol in order to sleep better.

8. Reduce the effects of long-term stress by trying the following: limit your activities by focusing on your priorities and saying no when time does not allow, realize that some things are out of your control and then resolve to solve problems that you can control, avoid high-stress situations that you know can be triggers for you, set aside time every day to relax and sit quietly as you breathe deep and enjoy activities or hobbies that you prefer, and then practice gratitude by expressing it to others.

9. Monitor your blood pressure at home with a quality monitor that fits on the upper part of your arm and visit your healthcare provider regularly to discuss your health.

10. Access the support that you need to stay healthy whether it be from family and friends or groups you belong to. They can help keep you positive and encourage you to stay focused on the activities and behaviors that will keep you connected as you engage in a healthy lifestyle.

Thanks so much for taking the time to check out this video and read this post. Please feel free to share this video and the accompanying information with anyone you think might be interested in improving their blood pressure and living a healthier life. Take good care and give us a call if we can ever be of assistance.