Drop the pres­sure


The Gulf Today - Panorama - - Contents -

Life­style changes can help you con­trol and pre­vent high blood pres­sure, even if you’re tak­ing blood pres­sure med­i­ca­tion. Here’s what you can do:

Eat healthy foods

Eat a healthy diet. Try the Di­etary Ap­proaches to Stop Hy­per­ten­sion (DASH) diet, which em­pha­sises fruits, veg­eta­bles, whole grains, poul­try, fish and low-fat dairy foods. Get plenty of potas­sium, which can help pre­vent and con­trol high blood pres­sure. Eat less sat­u­rated fat and trans fat.

De­crease the salt in your diet

A lower sodium level — 1,500mg a day — is ap­pro­pri­ate for peo­ple 51 years of age or older, and in­di­vid­u­als of any age who have hy­per­ten­sion, di­a­betes or chronic kid­ney dis­ease.

Oth­er­wise healthy peo­ple can aim for 2,300mg a day or less. While you can re­duce the amount of salt you eat by putting down the salt­shaker, you gen­er­ally should also pay at­ten­tion to the amount of salt that’s in the pro­cessed foods you eat, such as canned foods or frozen din­ners.

Main­tain a healthy weight

Keep­ing a healthy weight, or los­ing weight if you’re over­weight or obese, can help you con­trol your high blood pres­sure and lower your risk of re­lated health prob­lems. If you’re over­weight, los­ing even 2.3 kilo­grams can lower your blood pres­sure.

In­crease phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity

Reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity can help lower your blood pres­sure, man­age stress, re­duce your risk of sev­eral health prob­lems and keep your weight un­der con­trol.

For most healthy adults, the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices rec­om­mends that you get at least

150 min­utes a week of mod­er­ate aer­o­bic ac­tiv­ity or 75 min­utes a week of vig­or­ous aer­o­bic ac­tiv­ity, or a com­bi­na­tion of mod­er­ate and vig­or­ous ac­tiv­ity. Aim to do

mus­cle-strength­en­ing ex­er­cises at least two days a week.

Limit al­co­hol

Even if you’re healthy, al­co­hol can raise your blood pres­sure. If you choose to drink al­co­hol, do so in mod­er­a­tion.

For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

Don’t smoke

Tobacco in­jures blood ves­sel walls and speeds up the process of hard­en­ing of the ar­ter­ies. If you smoke, ask your doc­tor to help you quit.

Man­age stress

Re­duce stress as much as pos­si­ble. Prac­tice healthy cop­ing tech­niques, such as mus­cle re­lax­ation, deep breath­ing or med­i­ta­tion. Get­ting reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and plenty of sleep can help, too.

Mon­i­tor your blood pres­sure at home

Home blood pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing can help you keep closer tabs on your blood pres­sure, show if med­i­ca­tion is work­ing, and even alert you and your doc­tor to po­ten­tial com­pli­ca­tions. Home blood pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing isn’t a sub­sti­tute for vis­its to your doc­tor, and home blood pres­sure mon­i­tors may have some lim­i­ta­tions. Even if you get nor­mal read­ings, don’t stop or change your med­i­ca­tions or alter your diet with­out talk­ing to your doc­tor first.

If your blood pres­sure is un­der con­trol, you may be able to make fewer vis­its to your doc­tor if you mon­i­tor your blood pres­sure at home.

Prac­tice re­lax­ation or slow, deep breath­ing

Prac­tice tak­ing deep, slow breaths to help re­lax. There are some de­vices avail­able that pro­mote slow, deep breath­ing. How­ever, it’s ques­tion­able whether these de­vices have a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on low­er­ing your blood pres­sure.

Con­trol blood pres­sure during preg­nancy. If you’re a woman with high blood pres­sure, dis­cuss with your doc­tor how to con­trol your blood pres­sure during preg­nancy.

Get plenty of potas­sium-rich foods in your diet, which can help pre­vent and con­trol high blood pres­sure.

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