High blood pressure can harm your blood vessels without causing noticeable symptoms until the damage leads to serious health problems. For this reason, hypertension—another name for high blood pressure — is considered a “silent killer.” Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other complications.
To learn about your own blood pressure levels and specific changes you can make, schedule an appointment with us at Nu Wave Medical Center in Panama City Beach, Florida. Dr. Sekhon shares these 5 things you can do to help keep your blood pressure under control.
1. Eat a heart-healthy diet
Every time you eat, you have an opportunity consume foods that either support or work against your arterial health. While most all foods and beverages fit within a healthy diet in appropriate amounts, the higher the percentage of heart-healthy foods, the better your diet will be for your blood pressure.
Foods that promote blood pressure health include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, such as oats and brown rice
- Low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes
- Heart-healthy fats, such as olive oil
Meanwhile, limit foods that can increase blood pressure and negatively affect overall cardiovascular health, such as:
- Fatty meats and cheeses
- Whole milk
- Fried foods
- Sugary snacks and drinks
- Refined grains, such as white flour
- Salty foods, such as cured meats and chips
2. Cultivate healthy exercise habits
Staying physically active helps reduce high blood pressure while strengthening your heart and keeping your body weight in a good place. All of these attributes are important for staving off hypertension.
For healthy individuals, the American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderately-intense aerobic exercise per week. Spread the activity throughout each week and include stretching and flexibility exercises. At least twice a week, engage in muscle-strengthening, such as light weight training. Some activities, such as climbing stairs and cycling, are both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises.
3. Get enough nightly sleep
Everyone lacks Zs on occasion, but if you miss out on sleep routinely — averaging six or fewer hours per night — your blood pressure can increase. Sleep loss damages the body’s ability to regulate stress hormones, which can fuel high blood pressure. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. To up your odds of sleeping well and enough, sleep in a dark, comfortable room, limit the use of digital devices before bed, and stick to fairly routine sleeping and waking times.
4. Manage stress
Managing stress can help lower your blood pressure by keeping stress hormones from over-producing. These hormones prepare the body for “fight or flight” reactions by raising your pulse and constricting blood vessels. To prevent this, address stressful situations early on, avoiding them when you can. Talk your emotional challenges out with a loved one, friend, or therapist. And consider relaxation practices, such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga.
5. See your doctor regularly
Seeing us for routine physical exams and whenever you notice unusual symptoms can help ensure that any increases in blood pressure are spotted and addressed early. These appointments also allow you the chance to discuss prevention and management options with Dr. Sekhon. If you have high blood pressure, she might recommend coming in more often than once a year. Whatever steps you decide on together, do your best to stick to them.
To learn more, schedule an appointment at Nu Wave Medical Center. We would love to support you toward your heart-health and blood pressure goals.