If you’re one of the 80 million Americans starting the new year with chronic high blood pressure, you already know you need to make lifestyle changes to lower your numbers.
At the offices of Beth and Howard Braver, MD, our experienced physicians understand how dangerous hypertension can be, and they want to help.
Our hypertension experts help you take charge of your blood pressure by partnering with you in your health care, giving you the reins to take control. In this blog post, we explain the dangers of hypertension and provide key lifestyle tips to help you manage it.
Why is hypertension dangerous?
People develop chronic high blood pressure, or hypertension, for many reasons, like certain medical conditions or medications. While some develop hypertension without an identifiable cause, most of the time unhealthy behaviors trigger hypertension.
Hypertension leads to serious medical conditions, such as heart disease and stroke.
Even more concerning, hypertension can take years to develop and doesn’t usually have noticeable symptoms. That’s why we refer to hypertension as the “silent killer.”
You should have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. In fact, we always check your blood pressure during your annual physical exam.
How to manage hypertension
Lifestyle changes can help you lower your blood pressure and keep it under control.
If you’re a smoker, one of the most important lifestyle changes you can make is to quit smoking. Nothing will have a bigger impact on your health, including your blood pressure, heart, and entire cardiovascular system.
Here are four more tips for managing hypertension.
Opt for heart-healthy foods and daily exercise
The foods you eat and the amount of exercise you get can have a major impact on your heart health and blood pressure. If you have hypertension, change to a heart-healthy diet.
To lower your blood pressure:
- Choose blood-pressure friendly snacks, like fruits and vegetables
- Begin lunch and dinner with a large green salad
- Add more veggies to your meals
- Reduce or eliminate your intake of sugar, salt, and saturated fats
Regular physical activity also helps you manage your blood pressure. At Beth and Howard Braver, MD, our physicians work with you to create a customized physical activity plan for your specific needs.
Minimize or eliminate alcohol consumption
When you drink more alcohol than the recommended guidelines — even by just a small amount — your blood pressure rises. If you have hypertension and can do so, avoid drinking alcohol. If you’re not ready to give up alcohol, limit your daily consumption to one drink per day if you’re a woman or two drinks if you’re a man.
Manage your stress in healthy ways
The modern world is full of stress, especially since COVID-19 changed our lives. If you have or are at risk of developing hypertension, managing your stress is key to managing your blood pressure. Here’s why.
When you experience stress, your body releases stress hormones. These hormones factor into your fight-or-flight response, and your blood pressure rises as your body prepares to flee or face an enemy.
Your body can handle this stress response from time to time, but the constant stress of modern life takes its toll. Unchecked, it can cause permanent and/or serious damage to your cardiovascular system.
Monitor your blood pressure at home
Regularly monitor your blood pressure so you see how your numbers vary day to day. Notice how specific challenges, like work stress, and positive changes, like improving your diet, affect your blood pressure.
It’s easy to use a simple at-home blood pressure monitor, or you can take readings at your pharmacy. Regularly measuring your blood pressure helps you see positive changes and stay motivated to continue making improvement.
To regain control of your health and manage your hypertension, contact us at our Aventura or Hollywood, Florida, office.