Did you know nearly half of all American adults have hypertension, or high blood pressure? If you’re one of them, you already know that lowering your numbers is essential for better health.
At Beth and Howard Braver, MD, in Aventura and Hollywood, Florida, we understand how dangerous chronic high blood pressure is for your health. If you’re struggling to lower your numbers, our experienced providers can help with expert care.
We also put our heads together and created this informative post with our top ways you can play a role in lowering your blood pressure.
Why do I have hypertension?
People develop hypertension for different reasons. Some people have what’s called secondary hypertension. That’s when your elevated blood pressure is due to a known cause, like kidney disease.
Other secondary causes include issues with the adrenal glands, birth control pills, and certain medications.
Most people have essential or primary hypertension, which occurs when high blood pressure develops for no identifiable reason. But while the exact cause isn’t known, medical researchers have found a link between hypertension and certain lifestyle factors, especially:
- High-sodium (salt) diet
- High-fat diet
- Lack of essential nutrients
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Alcohol consumption
- Unmanaged stress
Having a close family member with high blood pressure increases your risk of developing hypertension. Some women also develop high blood pressure while pregnant.
Why worry about high blood pressure?
Chronic high blood pressure is strongly linked to a much higher risk of serious medical conditions, including:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease/failure
- Vision loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Peripheral artery disease
- Microvascular disease (angina)
Even without symptoms, hypertension damages your heart and blood vessels, putting your health at risk. That’s why the medical community often refers to it as the “silent killer.”
What can I do to lower my numbers?
Although high blood pressure is serious, you can play a key role in helping your numbers drop — and keeping them low — by making simple lifestyle changes.
Eat more vegetables
Vegetables have many properties that help lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health. They also have lots of fiber to fill you up and help you eat fewer unhealthy foods.
Exercise 3-4 times a week for 40 minutes each time. Studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as some blood pressure medications.
Maintain a healthy weight
If you’re overweight or obese, losing even small amounts of weight can help lower your blood pressure.
Cut out sugar
Cut sugar from your diet, including sugar that comes in the form of refined carbohydrates, like bread, crackers, and pasta. Research has found that no-sugar, low refined carbohydrate diets reduce blood pressure significantly.
Add potassium, delete sodium
Salt is one of the worst things for your blood pressure, and potassium combats the effects it has on your cardiovascular system. You can find potassium in many fruits, especially bananas, avocados, and citrus fruits, and most vegetables.
Say no to processed foods
Processed foods are typically high in sodium and low on nutrition, so cut them out and turn to whole foods instead for a more balanced, heart-healthy diet.
Manage your stress
Stress is unavoidable, but learning to manage it in healthy ways, such as yoga or meditation, reduces your blood pressure and improves heart health.
Get some sleep
When you don’t get a good night’s rest, your blood pressure is affected, so spend time creating a regular sleep schedule and routine to help you stay on top of hypertension.
Researchers have found even healthy people experience a rise in blood pressure from alcohol, so avoid it if you can. And if you can’t, stick to the recommended guidelines of no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
We’re here to guide you every step of the way. We work with you to create a realistic, attainable plan just for you. Learn more about hypertension and what you can do to lower your blood pressure numbers by contacting us at Beth and Howard Braver, MD.