For the 80 million Americans with high blood pressure, the hectic holiday season can bring extra risks. Even if you normally eat a healthy diet, stay active, and follow other precautions to reduce blood pressure, the added stress and food temptations during the holiday season can spell trouble.
At Nu Wave Medical Center in Panama City Beach, Florida, we know how dangerous high blood pressure can be. If you’re suffering from or at risk of developing high blood pressure, we want to help you get through the holiday season safely. Gurprit Sekhon, MD, and our compassionate care team have identified potential traps to watch out for this holiday season that can negatively impact your blood pressure.
1. Strive for a healthy holiday diet
The holiday season is a time when many of us indulge in holiday treats and delicious desserts. It’s okay to have a treat now and then, but if you have or are at risk of developing high blood pressure, strive to keep your diet as healthy as possible this holiday season.
Snack on heart-healthy fruits and vegetables, and be sure to begin each meal with a healthy salad. This will keep your appetite in check and make it easier to bypass less-than-healthy choices. You’ll also want to limit your intake of sugar, salt, and saturated fat.
2. Limit alcohol consumption
During the holiday season, it can be hard to avoid raising a glass. The good news? Alcohol can have a positive effect on blood pressure — but only if you drink in moderation. Drinking more than the recommended guidelines can make your blood pressure rise. In general, alcohol consumption should be limited to one drink per day for women and two drinks a day for men.
3. Be mindful of medications
If you’re taking blood pressure medication, be sure to take it regularly over the holidays, even if your schedule changes due to travel or vacation. In addition, be mindful of over-the-counter medications.
The holiday season brings lots of joy and cheer, but it can also bring colds and the flu. Many over-the-counter cold and flu medicines contain decongestants, such as oxymetazoline, phenylephrine, and pseudoephedrine, all of which can increase blood pressure. Be sure to talk with Dr. Sekhon before adding new medications this holiday season.
4. Keep stress in check
If you’re like most people, you have a love-hate relationship with the holidays. You love the season but hate the stress the season can bring. If you have or are at risk of developing high blood pressure, it’s especially important to keep stress in check.
When you experience stress, your body release hormones that put you in a fight or flight mode, which can increase your blood pressure. While you’re equipped to handle this increase of blood pressure from time to time, constant or frequent stress can cause serious damage. Dr. Sekhon and the team at Nu Wave Medical Center will work with you to find healthy ways to relieve stress.
5. Monitor your blood pressure
Keeping an eye on your blood pressure with an at-home blood pressure monitor is easier than ever. Invest in a monitor and use it regularly this holiday season. Regular monitoring will help you see your day-to-day numbers as well as how different challenges during the holidays may affect you. Compare your at-home results with those taken in Dr. Sekhon’s office, and as you make important lifestyle changes, you’ll see your blood pressure improve.
If you have high blood pressure or are at risk of developing it, book an appointment over the phone with Nu Wave Medical Center today.