Maintaining healthy blood pressure is so important. And if you have been
diagnosed with high blood pressure, added stress, like that caused by
the COVID-19 pandemic, can contribute to elevated levels. If left untreated,
high blood pressure can cause a heart attack, stroke or other serious
health problems. Here are some helpful ways to manage your blood pressure:
Reduce your Stress
Stress is a major contributor to high blood pressure. Whether it is caused
by work, family or finances, it’s important to take a step back
and breathe. You can walk outside and enjoy the sunshine, practice yoga
or try meditating each day to keep your stress (and blood pressure) levels down.
Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling
blood pressure. Taking small steps toward losing weight by exercising
and eating healthy can help you see improvement in your blood pressure.
Another area to focus on is your waistline. Carrying too much weight around
your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure and complications
due to high blood pressure.
Regular physical activity — about 150 minutes a week — can
lower your blood pressure. But staying consistent is key to keeping the
benefits of exercise consistent and your blood pressure down. Some exercises
you could do include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing.
Eating healthy foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat
dairy products can lower your blood pressure. Reducing the amount of sodium
and increasing potassium in your diet can improve your blood pressure
and heart health. The DASH diet is an excellent nutrition resource aimed
at reducing blood pressure.
Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for a period of
time. Quitting helps your blood pressure return to normal and reduces
your risk of heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other complications.
There is never a bad time to quit smoking.
See Your Doctor
Because genetics can play a role in a variety of health issues, even the
most healthy individual can develop high blood pressure. It is important
to keep routine visits with your doctor, ask questions and carefully follow
any prescribed treatment.
Do not delay your care if you feel unwell, especially if your blood pressure
is rising. Contact your physician to make an in person or telehealth appointment
today. Visit www.caromonthealth.org
for more information.