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What Is Hypertension, and How Do You Manage It?

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Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, affects about 70 million American adults and often does not come with any warning signs. When your blood pressure rises too high for an extended period of time, it can lead to serious consequences, like heart attacks, stroke, aneurysms, and weakened blood vessels in your kidneys. Your likelihood of getting diagnosed with this condition increases if you are overweight, smoke tobacco, consume too much sodium, or drink too much alcohol. If you recently found out that you have high blood pressure, you can take steps to lower it and get healthy again. Here are some helpful tips for managing hypertension.

Get Down to a Healthy Weight

If you are overweight, you are much more likely to have higher blood pressure than someone who maintains a healthy weight. This is because it requires more pressure to move blood throughout your body when you are overweight. The good news is that you can take steps to lose weight and significantly lower your blood pressure. It all starts with your diet. If you cut junk food out of your diet and eat wholesome foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and whole grains, you will have an easier time losing weight. These nutritious foods are lower in calories and contain vitamins and minerals that can speed your metabolism. It is also important to exercise most days of the week to burn extra calories and keep your metabolism running fast.

Watch How Much Salt You Eat

The amount of salt in your diet can drastically affect your blood pressure. When you consume too much sodium, it can cause you to hold extra fluid in your body, ultimately increasing your blood pressure. To decrease your blood pressure and become healthier, aim to eat no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day. One of the best ways to cut salt out of your diet is to avoid processed foods, like prepackaged meals, canned foods, and condiments. Stick to natural foods that do not contain preservatives. Instead of using table salt to add flavor to your food, choose healthier spices, such as garlic, ginger, or basil.

Quit Smoking

If you want to get control of your blood pressure, you must make an effort to quit smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes can raise your blood pressure and narrow your arteries. Start out by making a list of the triggers that make you smoke. Pick a day to stop smoking, and give quitting your best effort. When you have the urge to smoke, think about why you wanted to quit in the first place and how you can improve your health. If you need extra help, you should ask your doctor whether they recommend nicotine patches or gum. You can also think about joining a support group and surrounding yourself with other people who share your struggle.

Get Your Stress Under Control

Being overly stressed can also increase your blood pressure, so it is very important to keep your anxiety levels under control. Whether the cause of the stress is due to work or your home life, figure out a way to improve your situation. For example, if you have a heavy workload at your job, ask your boss whether it is possible to decrease your workload. It is also helpful to engage in stress-reducing activities, such as meditating, yoga, and deep-breathing exercises.

If you follow these helpful tips, it will be possible to manage your blood pressure and live a healthy life. However, if your blood pressure is still too high, your doctor might prescribe you medication to stabilize it. Visit a doctor at an organization such as Rural Health Services Consortium Inc. to get started managing your health.