7 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

by The Cooperative
February Blog - Tips to Lower Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels that is consistently too high. Almost half of adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure meaning their readings are 130/80 or above. They may not even know it is high because many times you cannot feel blood pressure. If high blood pressure is left untreated for too long, it can lead to serious health issues such as a stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, heart failure, or vision loss.
It's important to know what your blood pressure is, and some steps you can take to help lower your blood pressure.
  • Well-Balanced Nutrition That’s Low in Sodium – eat well-balance meals and snacks that include lean proteins such as chicken and fish, low-fat dairy products, nuts and legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Limit your sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg per day or as recommended by your physician.
  • Limit Alcohol – Alcohol can have a direct effect on your blood pressure, and can add extra calories if you have a weight loss or maintenance goal. If you do consume alcohol, limit it to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. (1 drink = 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. wine, or 1.5 oz of liquor)
  • Get Moving – Getting active can help you manage your weight, strengthen your heart and muscles, and lower your stress levels. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week such as brisk walking, muscle strengthening exercises, and stretching.
  • Manage Your Stress – Stress, both acute or chronic stress, can have a direct effect on your blood pressure. Try to limit your “fight or flight” response by finding what stress management techniques work for you.
  • Quit Smoking – Both smoking and secondhand smoke can have an impact on blood pressure. Talk with your physician about the different quitting strategies that are available to you.
  • Achieve or Maintain a Healthy Weight – The risk of developing high blood pressure increases as your weight increases. If you are overweight or obese, even losing a small amount of weight can have a positive effect.
  • Know Your Numbers – Check your blood pressure regularly at your doctor’s office or with a medical blood pressure cuff at home. Track the readings and situation (time of day, stress level, after exercise, etc.) to have a record of your readings for future reference.
Some additional resources to help you with these tips are available right here on the Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire website.
Implementing even a few of these strategies can have a big influence on your blood pressure so don’t wait! Get started today!
Written by Coach Sarah
Source: American Heart Association

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