Maintaining diastolic blood pressure within 80 to 90 mm Hg and systolic blood pressure within 120 to 140 mm Hg can reduce complications to a large extent. This can be easily achieved through lifestyle changes. Having a healthy lifestyle helps in the following:
- Maintaining blood pressure
- Delaying the onset of blood pressure
- Avoiding the complications of hypertension like stroke, kidney disease, heart attack
- Increasing the efficacy of medicines
Here are 9 Must Do’s If You Have Hypertension:
- One of the strongest pillars of controlling blood pressure is to keep your weight under check. This reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. Abdominal obesity is a deterrent for blood pressure. See to it that your body mass index (BMI) is under 25 (for adults).
- For men, maintain the waistline within 40 inches.
- For women, maintain the waistline within 35 inches.
- Even if you are asymptomatic, regular monitoring of blood pressure is important. Make a note of the blood pressure values at home so that disease prognosis and treatment efficacy can be better understood by your physician.
- Exercise to shed those extra kilos by going for a run, swimming, cycling, gymnasium, dancing etc. This will not only help you maintain your blood pressure, but also control diabetes and cholesterol levels and strengthen your heart, lungs, and skeletal muscles. Exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week is ideal.
- It is mandatory that you keep other medical conditions under check, e.g., diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, high cholesterol/triglyceride levels, because uncontrolled health issues can affect your blood pressure drastically.
- Consume low fat and low calorie foods. There is no need to starve or completely omit certain food groups from your diet to get your blood pressure under control. A smart healthy diet which is sustainable is essential.
- Follow the dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet which focuses on incorporating more of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. They are rich in potassium which helps to reduce the blood pressure elevating effect of sodium in our foods. Eat more of fiber-rich foods like nuts, whole grains, beans, etc. and cut down on fat and cholesterol. Following the DASH diet can reduce you blood pressure by 14 mm Hg.
- It is important to limit your salt intake to 5 grams a day. Avoid processed and preserved foods to cut down sugar, salt, and fat. A low salt diet can decrease your blood pressure by 2-8 mm Hg.
- In some people, excess caffeine may elevate blood pressure.
- A dietician can help you plan a healthy diet that will suit your body type and need.
- Stress is a major contributor to high blood pressure. Introspect and try to understand what your stressors are. You can practice meditation, yoga, or any hobby daily that will help you de-stress.
- Seek counseling if you need emotional help. Talk to family, friends, or relatives to help you cope.
- Limit your alcohol consumption. Excess dinking can not only considerably raise your blood pressure, but also decrease the efficacy of blood pressure lowering drugs. More than one drink a day for women and men above 65 years of age, and more than two drinks a day for younger men can be harmful. Ideally, 14 units of alcohol a week should be kept as the maximum intake limit.
- Along with modern medicines, complementary therapy using home remedies/herbs may aid in reducing your blood pressure. These must be followed only after you have spoken to your physician. These should not be a substitute, but an adjunct to your conventional medication.
- Your blood pressure remains elevated for several minutes after you have smoked. There is no better reason to quit smoking. This will reduce your blood pressure and increase your life expectancy.
Some wonderful natural herbs that are proven to help in maintaining blood pressure are ginger, sesame, rauwolfia, radish, pomegranate, basil, flaxseed, carrot, wheat bran, and soybean.
It is important to realize that small changes in your daily routine can go a long way in controlling blood pressure.