Cut Your High Blood Pressure Risk in Half With These Easy Tricks
High blood pressure or hypertension causes your heart to work harder to pump blood and it's a common condition that affects over 116 million U.S. adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That said, high blood pressure can often be avoided with healthy lifestyle choices and if left untreated high blood pressure can cause serious issues like heart disease, which is the leading cause of death and other complications. Eat This. Not That! health spoke with Dr. Jacob Hascalovici MD, PhD Clearing Chief Medical Officer who shares what to know about blood pressure and how to lower the risk of hypertension. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
What to Know About Blood Pressure
Dr. Hascalovici tells us, "You should know that it's possible to have high blood pressure and yet not be aware of it. That's why regular health checks are so important. If your doctor doesn't mention your blood pressure results, you should ask about them specifically. Women, African American men, and people who consume a lot of sodium are at a heightened risk of high blood pressure."
The Dangers of Not Treating High Blood Pressure
Dr. Hascalovici says, "High blood pressure can wear you out, contributing to fatigue and pain while also making it more likely you might have a heart attack or stroke. Untreated high blood pressure can also lead to problems with your kidneys, heart, and eyesight."
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
The CDC states, "Do not drink too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day, and women should have no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day. "
Get More Exercise
According to the CDC, "Physical activity can help keep you at a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or bicycling, every week. That's about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day."
Maintain a Healthy Weight
The CDC warns, "Being overweight or obesity increases your risk for high blood pressure. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC's Assessing Your Weight website. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to assess body fat. Talk with your health care team about ways to reach a healthy weight, including choosing healthy foods and getting regular physical activity."
Eat Less Salt
Dr. Hascalovici shares, "Salt drives up your blood pressure because it encourages your body to retain water, which puts more stress on your veins. A typical American way of eating, unfortunately, makes it easy to eat a bit too much salt. Cutting your daily salt intake by even a pinch can help, though. To help even more, do your own cooking when possible, using flavorful spices instead of salt, and steer clear of heavily processed foods, fast food, and heavily salted things when you can."
Keep Stress Low
Dr. Hascalovici says, "When you're stressed, your body produces hormones to help deal with a possible emergency or whatever is stressing you, meaning your heart typically beats faster, among other things. Over time, high stress can lead to high blood pressure. Exercise, sleep, good friends, doing meaningful things, and taking quiet moments to slow down can all help manage stress. Some people do meditation, get massages, take walks in nature, or practice mind-body techniques to lower their stress levels."