If your doctor has told you that your blood pressure is high, you might be worried about the option of taking medication to bring your blood pressure back down. Your lifestyle and habits have an important impact on your blood pressure. You may be able to successfully control your blood pressure by leading a healthier lifestyle, which can reduce or even completely avoid the need to take medication. Here are some lifestyle changes that you can make.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Keeping an eye on your blood pressure can give you a better idea of what typically causes it to spike, and what helps to reduce it. Using a blood pressure monitor regularly allows you to get in control of your blood pressure and learn more about how the different things you do each day affect it. Going forward, this gives you a clearer picture of the changes that are the most necessary to get the results you need.
High blood pressure is often a side effect of being overweight or obese. Being overweight also increases your risk of sleep apnoea, or disrupted breathing while sleeping, which can also cause your blood pressure to rise. Weight loss is one of the best ways to control your blood pressure, and if you are overweight, losing just a little bit of extra weight can have a positive impact. A healthy diet combined with exercise will help you lose weight and improve your blood pressure.
Regular physical activity for around half an hour per day, most days of the week, can be very successful in lowering your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is high and you are going to start exercising to try and reduce it, consistency is key as your blood pressure may rise again if you stop working out. Exercise can also reduce your risk of hypertension if you have elevated blood pressure. Aerobic exercises like walking, dancing, cycling, swimming, or jogging are ideal.
Reduce Dietary Sodium
Along with eating a healthy and balanced diet, if you want to reduce your blood pressure, it’s a good idea to reduce the amount of sodium that you are getting from your foods. This can significantly reduce your blood pressure and improve your heart health. Wherever possible, choose low-salt versions of your favourite foods and eat fewer processed foods. Avoid adding extra salt to your dishes; herbs and spices can be used for seasoning instead.
Limit Alcohol and Stop Smoking
Alcohol and cigarettes can both have an impact on your blood pressure. While drinking a moderate amount of alcohol – one drink a day for women and two a day for men – can actually help to reduce your blood pressure, drinking too much can have the opposite effect. Smoking, on the other hand, is never healthy for you and high blood pressure is just another massive reason to quit. Speak to your doctor about nicotine replacement therapies if you feel they will help you stick to giving up.
High blood pressure doesn’t always require medication. By making some lifestyle changes, you can manage it naturally.