How to Lower Your Blood Pressure
Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure - and many don't even know it.
High blood pressure has no warning signs or symptoms - but it's one health issue you can prevent or treat, as long as you know you have it. Have your blood pressure checked regularly! Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Anything over that is a concern. 140/90 or higher is considered high blood pressure. If you do have high blood pressure, you can often control or lower it through the following lifestyle changes:
Lose extra pounds: Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure and your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.
Excercise regularly: All types of exercise can help lower blood pressure - walking, running, cycling, dancing, swimming, even lifting weights. Aim for at least 30 min a day.
Eat a healthy diet: Research the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which is a popular eating plan including whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Reduce sodium: Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure. Limit sodium to less than one teaspoon of salt a day (2,300 milligrams).
Limit alcohol: In small amounts, alcohol can potentially lower your blood pressure. But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much - generally more than one drink a day for women and for men 65+, and no more than two drinks a day for men under 65.
Quit smoking: Each cigarette increases blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Quitting smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. People who quit smoking, regardless of age, have substantial increases in life expectancy.
Reduce your stress: Chronic stress can make you more likely to overeat and skip exercise, which puts you at risk for high blood pressure. Try meditation, yoga or schedule some "you time."
- American Heart Association website: High Blood Pressure (accessed January 2021): heart.org.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: Prevent High Blood Pressure (accessed January 2021): cdc.gov.
- Mayo Clinic website: 10 Ways to Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication, (accessed January 2021), mayoclinic.org.
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