More than 15% of deaths in the United States can be attributed back to high blood pressure, according to a Harvard study. In addition, high blood pressure – along with smoking and and being overweight – is one of the top three most preventable causes of death in the U.S.1
Although it produces no symptoms, high blood pressure boosts the risks of leading killers such as heart attack and stroke.1 So what can you do to help lower your blood pressure? First of all, it’s important to talk to your doctor about what he or she recommends. Medication can be a requirement for some people, so never go off of your prescription unless your physician recommends that you do so.
There are several natural ways a person can help lower blood pressure. Here are 5 ways that you can help lower your blood pressure.
- The most important thing is to get to a healthy weight and smaller waist line. Losing weight can be an incredibly daunting task, especially if you have struggled with weight loss your entire life. But, according to the Mayo Clinic, losing just 10 pounds can reduce your blood pressure right away2. Many people with high blood pressure carry extra pounds and simply eliminating those pounds can cut down your risk of having high blood pressure. Ease your way into better diet and exercise habits.
- Doesn’t it seem like sodium is in everything? This could actually be the case. If you want to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, make a cognitive effort to reduce your sodium intake on a daily basis. Let your family, friends and retirement community know that you are trying to eat healthier and reduce sodium from your diet. Even a small reduction in the sodium from your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.2 It will take time for your taste buds to get used to less salt, especially if you are a big sodium fan, but if you slowly take it out of your life, one day you’ll realize that food actually tastes better without it.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about how much alcohol you should or should not be drinking. Make an effort to keep track of what you are eating and drinking.
- Put down the cigarettes. It seems like lowering your blood pressure has a lot to do with giving up the unhealthy things in your life like too much alcohol, sodium and cigarettes – doesn’t it? These are all things that many people have become dependent upon over the years and find it becomes incredibly difficult to give up. It’s not an easy thing to do, but keep in mind that there are support groups and many other people who are going through the same thing as you. Lowering your blood pressure can help reduce your risk of dying. If your goal is to live a longer, healthier life this could motivate you to get rid of these unhealthy habits once and for all. Each time you find yourself wanting a cigarette or another salty snack, have a reminder close by that helps you stay motivated and strong. Hang in there. You can do this!
- Take time to relax and de-stress. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. This is a quick reminder to take time each day to calm your mind and body. Some people take up meditation or a relaxing hobby. Whatever you do to help reduce the stress in your life, do it at least once a day. It’s hard when life is busy and things happen incredibly fast. A stressful life can cause you to do things that contribute to high blood pressure, like overeating and drinking. Trade those things with something that is beneficial to your body.
Good luck on your mission to lower your blood pressure. Always remember that there are people out there that can help you on your way. Talk to a staff member at your retirement community. There are many people who understand and can give you tips beyond the ones listed above in this post. You can do it! You know you can!
1According to a 2009 study led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).
2According to the Mayo Clinic, article here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974.
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