High blood pressure puts unnecessary pressure on your heart, as it must work harder to pump the blood around your body. While you typically won’t feel any symptoms from high blood pressure, the extra strain it puts on your body increases your chances of a heart attack – as well as numerous other conditions, including kidney disease and strokes.
Fortunately, there are practical steps you can take to lower your blood pressure, improve your health, and reduce your risk of having a heart attack.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet:
What you eat is vital when it comes to managing your blood pressure. Ensure you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
It is also beneficial to reduce your salt (sodium) intake. The best way to achieve this is by eating fresh food, where you can personally control the amount of salt you put into your food. Similarly, avoid processed foods when you can and check the labels of products in the supermarkets to avoid foods with a lot of salt in them.
2. Exercise Regularly
Getting exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower your blood pressure. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week (20 min per day) of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling. Of course, if you can manage more, then great! Regular activities like this strengthen your heart so it can pump blood more efficiently.
3. Watch Your Weight
Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of high blood pressure and puts a lot of extra strain on your heart. Losing even a small amount of weight can dramatically help reduce your blood pressure levels.
The good news is that if you’re making the changes suggested in the first two tips, you’re already well on your way to reducing your weight and blood pressure.
4. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption can elevate blood pressure, so it’s important to drink in moderation if you drink at all. Additionally, if you drink, be aware that certain drinks, such as beer, alcopops, and spirits served with soft drinks, with high sugar levels, can significantly contribute to your calorie intake.
5. Don’t Smoke
Similarly, smoking increases blood pressure and damages blood vessels. Quitting smoking can improve overall heart health and lower blood pressure, as well as dramatically reduce your chances of a whole host of other diseases.
6. Try to Manage Your Stress
Chronic stress has been shown to contribute to high blood pressure, so managing your stress can be a vital part of lowering your blood pressure. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature can help you reduce stress and lower your blood pressure. However, it’s also essential to identify the things that stress you, look for ways to reduce or cope with them effectively, and find long-term solutions to reduce stress levels.
7. Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home
Monitoring your blood pressure at home is a great way to ensure that the tips outlined here are working and can help you track your progress. It can also alert you to problems you may not have been unaware of. The monitoring process is simple, and you can buy blood pressure monitors for under £20.
8. Get Help if You Need It
Making the lifestyle changes needed to manage your blood pressure can be challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone. If you want any advice on your blood pressure or if you think you might have high blood pressure, please talk to a medical professional. You can speak to your local GP or book an online GP appointment.