One in every three adults suffers from high blood pressure in the United States. Detection of hypertension and blood pressure control are critically important for reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. When most patients are diagnosed with high blood pressure they are often worried about taking new medications and in many cases become resistant to treatment plans. What if your doctor told you that the progression of the disease is in your hands?
Life style plays an important role in treating high blood pressure. If you take the necessary steps to improve your life style you might be able to reduce the need for medications.
Sodium reduction in your diet:
According to the American Heart Association, “Americans consume an average of nearly 3,500 mg of sodium a day, which is about 1,000 mg more than what the AHA recommends.” Even a small reduction in the sodium intake can reduce your blood pressure by 2 to 8 mmHg. To control the amount of salt you consume each day you can follow these recommendations:
- Eat more home-cooked meals. Season your foods with spices and herbs.
- Read ingredient labels to identify high sodium products.
- Choose Salt-free or reduced salt products
- Avoid canned soup, frozen dinners, salted nuts, pickles, olives and cures or salted meat such as: bacon, cold cuts, ham, sausage, sardines and canned meat.
Exercise regularly, The American Medical Association recommends patients exercise at least 30 minutes a day for four days a week. Weight loss can reduce your blood pressure by 6 to 6 mmHg. People who are inactive and less fit have a 30% to 50% greater risk for high blood pressure.
Limit the amount of alcohol intake; drinking large amounts of alcohol is associated with an increase in blood pressure by reducing the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. Mayo clinic recommends that if you choose to drink alcohol you should limit your amount to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than 65.
One drink a day includes: Beer: 12 fluid ounces, Wine: 5 fluid ounces. Distilled spirits: 1.5 fluid ounces.
Maintain a blood pressure diary at home as home monitoring allows your physician to track your progress and figure out if your current medical treatment plan is effective.