Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is an enemy that comes with age. Blood pressure is the force that blood, pumped by the heart, exerts on the arteries. Over the years, blood vessels become stiffer, causing this pressure to increase.
This condition can cause heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and kidney disease in the medium to long term. However, it is enough to make some lifestyle changes to keep your blood pressure under control. We tell you what these changes are.
When is my blood pressure high?
The first thing is to know how to recognize a case of hypertension. One of the main problems of high blood pressure is that it hardly manifests itself through symptoms, which is why it is called “the silent enemy”. However, there are some signs we can pay attention to.
For example, headaches. They do not present themselves as habitual pains, but as a pressure that is exerted on the skull. There may also be episodes of lightheadedness in which we forget things we used to remember without problems.
You may also have the feeling that your heart is beating faster than normal, even if it’s not. In those cases (and especially if we have a family history), it is advisable to see a specialist. If our pressure gives results of 140/90 mm Hg or more, we are dealing with a case of hypertension.
How to control blood pressure?
If the doctor considers it necessary, he will prescribe medication to control the pressure or keep it within its normal limits. This should be complemented by lifestyle changes, ranging from diet to physical activity. Here are the details.
Caring for Your Diet
A diet rich in fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and fat-free dairy products is recommended. Avoid foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats. To make dietary changes, it is suggested that you keep track of what you eat by writing it down in a diary.
The latter can only be done for a few days, but it will be of great help to recognize our eating habits and see how we can improve them.
This is a very important point. It is enough to reduce salt intake even in small amounts to lower blood pressure by up to 8 mm Hg. For this, we recommend that you start reading the labels of the products you buy, so that you can know how much sodium you consume.
Of course, you will also need to avoid adding salt to your meals once they are on the table. Also, avoid processed foods such as potato chips and bacon. You can learn these habits a little at a time, so your palate gets used to them.
In small amounts, alcohol can be healthy (it may even help lower blood pressure slightly). But in excess, it causes pressure to rise at several points and neutralizes the effect of medications.
Even so, if you are used to drinking alcohol to a considerable extent, it is also not advisable to give it up suddenly, because even this could lead to a picture of hypertension. It is best to gradually reduce your consumption over a few weeks.
Avoiding tobacco and caffeine
Nicotine can increase blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg. A regular smoker is likely to have permanently high blood pressure. We should also avoid secondhand smoke, which also increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
On the other hand, caffeine can also affect our blood pressure. However, this would not apply to everyone. To find out, you can have a cup of coffee or caffeinated drink and measure your blood pressure within the first half hour. If the results go up by more than five points, you should no longer use it.
This is the best advice you can give someone, whether they have high blood pressure or not. However, exercise has very positive effects for those who want to lower their blood pressure and improve their cardiovascular system. You don’t have to try too hard, you can start with daily walks.
It is recommended to do between 90 and 150 minutes of physical activity a week. If you feel like exercising, talk to your doctor about which sport is best for you and how often you can do it. Aerobic sport (jogging, swimming, dancing, etc.) is ideal in these cases.
Finally, it is recommended that you avoid stress, as it is often the cause of a temporary increase in blood pressure. To manage it, you can try activities like yoga or pilates. To effectively reduce blood pressure fast, read our Blue Heron Blood Pressure Review Program.