Love Your Heart: 5 Ways to Control Your Blood Pressure

February kicks off American Heart Month, which is a wonderful time to commit to living a healthier lifestyle. One way many Americans are striving to stay healthy this year is by keeping their blood pressure under control. High blood pressure is a condition that affects about 75 million Americans.

High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer”; it often shows no warning signs. Of the 75 million who have high blood pressure, only half of the people have it under control. Your lifestyle plays an important role in managing high blood pressure; making necessary changes can save your life and allow you to avoid, delay or reduce your need to take medication.

We at Neighbors Emergency Center encourage you to have your blood pressure checked regularly so you can take the necessary steps to prevent and /or control your high blood pressure.

 Lose Extra Pounds

It is common for your blood pressure to increase when your weight increases. Doctors have found weight loss to be one of the most effective ways to control blood pressure. Simply losing 10 pounds can reduce your blood pressure. Being overweight also disrupts your breathing while you sleep, another factor that raises blood pressure levels.

 Exercise Regularly

Physical activity can lower your blood pressure. The key is to be consistent and exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Should you stop exercising it is very likely your blood pressure will rise again. The best exercise for lowering blood pressure includes walking, jogging, swimming, cycling and dancing. Be sure to speak with your doctor first about what exercise program is right for you.

Eat Healthy

There are several steps you can take to change your eating habits and maintain a healthy diet. Begin by incorporating rich whole grains, fruits, veggies and low-fat dairy products into your diet. Be sure to remove as much saturated fat and cholesterol high foods as you can. As you adopt to these new food habits keep a food diary. When you write down what you are eating, how much you are eating, and when you are eating, it will shed light on your food choices and help you monitor what you eat.

Limit Alcohol

Drinking in moderation is always the best way to handle alcohol consumption, especially when you are striving to lower your blood pressure. Drinking heavily can raise your blood pressure level by several points. If you are on blood pressure medication, alcohol can reduce the overall effectiveness of your medication.

 Reduce Sodium

Reducing your sodium intake by a small amount can reduce your blood pressure up to 8 mm Hg. The effect of sodium varies from person to person, but people with greater salt sensitivity include African-Americans and anyone over the age of 51. To reduce sodium, consider being conscious of food labels, eating fewer processed food and avoid adding excess salt to your meals.

This month, show your support for American Heart Month by committing to making a change. Schedule a visit with your doctor, exercise daily, eat healthy or take steps to quit smoking.  Neighbors Emergency Center has several locations throughout Texas. Our board-certified physicians and state-of-the-art technology make it easy for us to care for your family’s medical emergencies 24/7. See your wait time for any location online now!