Managing Blood Pressure

Cardiogram and heart
February is Heart Health month! To help raise awareness about heart health, this week’s blog is dedicated to a health condition many people struggle with: high blood pressure.
There are many people living with high blood pressure. In fact, by the time we reach 65, around two thirds of people are expected to have high blood pressure. Controlling your blood pressure is important to help ward off more serious heart disease. By managing your blood pressure, you can mediate the risk and continue to live happily and healthily.

Here are some ways to manage your blood pressure.

Keeping your Diet Healthy

A diet high in the following foods, including:

  • Whole grains
  •  Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean Proteins, including fish and poultry
  • Foods high in potassium may help lower blood pressure: this includes leafy greens, potatoes, bananas, fish, and squash.

Avoid the Following foods:

  • Foods high in saturated fat. This includes processed meats, fattier cuts of meat, and processed foods.
  • Foods high in sodium. Check the labels on packaged and processed goods, as these foods are the biggest culprits for high sodium intake.
  • Refined Carbohydrates. Products like white bread and pasta tend to fill you up less which can lead to indulging more. White products also don’t have the added nutritional benefits of brown products.

Exercising Regularly
You don’t have to hit the gym every day in order gain the benefits of exercise. Find an activity that you enjoy, and try to stick with it. Tennis with friends, a hike with your dog, or a swim in the morning, or even a quick 15 minute walk after meals can help you lower your blood pressure.

Limit Alcohol Consumption
Limiting alcohol can help you manage your blood pressure. Having a maximum of one drink a day for women, and two drinks a day for men is a good general rule of thumb.

Avoid Smoking
Smoking can have an effect on blood pressure almost immediately after smoking. Curbing your habit or quitting all together can have a great improvement on your overall health all well.

Manage Your Stress
Managing your stress level is important in maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. Taking time for yourself, meditating, managing your time well, can all contribute significantly to lowering your blood pressure.
Talk to Your Doctor about Medication
If your blood pressure is still consistently 140/90 or higher, your doctor may put you on medication. Taking additional steps to lower your blood pressure in conjunction with medication will give you the best results.

Managing blood pressure is essential in preventing heart disease and maintaining your overall health. Happy Heart Month Everyone!