The new year is a great time to take a hard look at your health and to commit to making this year a healthier one. It’s no wonder that health-related goals top many New Year’s resolution lists. Resolutions like committing to losing weight, exercising more, and quitting smoking are perennial favorites when trying to make a fresh new start.
Finding ways to get healthier is particularly important if you have high blood pressure. The highly trained medical providers at Cardio Metabolic Institute know that making lifestyle changes may seem daunting. Below, our compassionate team offers encouragement and advice with seven steps you can take this year to lower your blood pressure.
Let’s start with what high blood pressure is and how it affects your body. You may know your blood pressure is measured by two numbers. What these numbers track is the relationship between the pressure within your veins and arteries and your heart as blood circulates throughout your body.
The ultimate goal is to circulate oxygenated blood to tissues and organs without overtaxing your heart. However, if you have high blood pressure — also called hypertension — the force of blood on the walls of your veins or arteries is consistently too high.
Step 1: Know your risk factors
High blood pressure can damage your arteries, making you particularly vulnerable to developing heart disease or having a heart attack or stroke. Aptly nicknamed “the silent killer,” high blood pressure can cause damage to your body way before you have any symptoms. Knowing your risks can save your life.
Among the chief risk factors is heredity. If a parent or family member has high blood pressure, your chances of getting it increase. Other factors include living a sedentary life, eating an unhealthy diet, having high cholesterol, and being overweight.
Step 2: Maintain an ideal weight
The good news is that many of those risk factors are lifestyle-related. If you’re one of the 75 million adults in the United States who has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, the really good news is that there are not only many things within your control to get your blood pressure back on track, but also many of these things are connected.
This may help you make a greater impact more quickly. For instance, eating a balanced diet rich in plant-based foods can help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, and reduce your blood pressure. And sticking to it helps you maintain an ideal weight.
Step 3: Cut back on salt and alcohol
Many foods are laden with salt, so looking for low-sodium options and not adding extra salt on your food can make a big difference. Minimizing alcohol consumption can also have a positive impact on your blood pressure. Think moderation.
Step 4: Reduce stress
This one can be particularly difficult, as juggling responsibilities at home and at the office is challenging to say the least. Know your stress triggers, and find ways to incorporate relaxation techniques to combat stress in your daily life.
Deep breathing or practicing yoga or meditation can do wonders for your blood pressure, and it may even add a new level of contentment or happiness to your life as an added plus. That’s a great win-win!
Step 5: Exercise more
Sedentary lifestyles feed into many high blood pressure risk factors like being overweight or eating an unhealthy diet. Get up and get active.
Go for a spin on your bicycle or take a class at the gym. If you aren’t a gym rat, that’s no problem. Taking a short walk could be just the thing. Some type of consistent exercise each day is the goal.
Step 6: Quit smoking
This is another difficult step but one that’s well worth it. There’s a wide range of smoking cessation medications and programs that can help you, including the Healthy Hearts program at Cardio Metabolic Institute. Smoking not only harms your lungs, but it also causes devastating effects to your heart health. Say goodbye to tobacco once and for all, and say hello to a lower blood pressure and a healthier you in 2020.
Step 7: Monitor your blood pressure regularly
Monitoring your blood pressure can track changes so you can get treatment before it’s too late. If you’re at risk for high blood pressure, consult with your provider to set regular blood pressure checks.
Don’t forget annual physicals and blood tests to monitor your cholesterol level. Simple health screenings can catch issues and enable your doctor to address high blood pressure before it becomes a life-threatening condition.
If you have concerns about your blood pressure, make an appointment at Cardio Metabolic Institute in Somerset, Monroe Township, and East Brunswick, New Jersey, and make 2020 your healthiest year yet. Click to book online or call today for an appointment at the office nearest you.