The medical name for high blood pressure is hypertension, and it’s one of the most common health problems in the world. According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people around the world have hypertension.
At Houston Family, MD, Dr. Ranjit Grewal, and his staff have helped many patients better understand their risk of developing hypertension. Although there are some risk factors you can’t change, there are numerous lifestyle changes that can have an enormous, positive impact on keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range.
You can’t change your family medical history. If people in your family have hypertension, your risk is higher. Similarly, your age, gender, race, and whether or not you have another health condition such as chronic kidney disease, are outside of your control.
However, it’s important to remember that if you have these risk factors, it’s all the more important to modify any others that you can. The following five ways to reduce your risk can help you stay healthy.
You already know smoking is bad for your health. Using tobacco raises your blood pressure, and damages your arteries. If you’ve struggled to quit using tobacco in the past, talk to Dr. Grewal about it. He may be able to make suggestions you haven’t considered, such as support groups, prescription medications, and more.
A nutritious, well-balanced diet that is low in sodium is important for overall good health including maintaining healthy blood pressure. If you think your sodium consumption is reasonable because you don’t use table salt, you may want to consider reading labels.
Many prepared foods, such as bread and canned soups, contain much more sodium than most people realize. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration estimates that about 70% of dietary sodium comes from packaged and prepared foods.
The daily recommended value for sodium for adults is less than 2300 milligrams per day. Most Americans eat around 3400 milligrams per day. Get familiar with labels to understand your sodium consumption.
Another dietary consideration when it comes to hypertension is alcohol. Men who drink more than two drinks per day and women who drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day are at a greater risk of chronic high blood pressure.
Physical activity is important for heart health, including maintaining healthy blood pressure. It’s not necessary to develop a strenuous training routine, but regular physical activity that elevates your heart rate such as walking briskly, playing a sport you enjoy, swimming, or another movement, will help keep your blood flowing and your heart pumping.
Plus, watching your diet and getting regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese is another risk factor for hypertension!
It’s much easier to tell people to lower their stress levels than it is to actually do so. If you live with chronic stress, you increase your risk level for numerous health conditions, including high blood pressure.
Here are a few tips to help you reduce stress:
If you have diabetes, your risk of developing hypertension is far higher than someone who doesn’t have diabetes. By following Dr. Grewal’s instructions and managing your diabetes, you may be able to reduce that risk to some degree.
Having high cholesterol is another condition that is associated with high blood pressure. Cholesterol can build up on the inside of your arteries, making them stiffer and narrower. Taking steps to lower your cholesterol can reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
Sleep apnea is also associated with hypertension. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, taking steps to treat it can also help lower the chance you’ll develop high blood pressure.
If you have questions about hypertension, schedule an appointment at Houston Family MD. Our staff is happy to discuss your situation and answer your questions.