Primary Care

How to deal with your high blood pressure

Cardiogram Of Heart Beat And Medical Equipment

If you have high blood pressure, it’s important to know that it can lead to other serious health problems if it’s not treated. The good news is that as you make lifestyle changes and take your medication, it will make a difference in controlling your blood pressure. In fact, some changes can immediately lower your blood pressure according to Melanie Ames, FNP, a Family Nurse Practitioner at Riverside Bruton Avenue Family Practice.

You and your provider can develop a plan that includes both changes you can make to improve your diet, increase your physical activity and manage stress as well as taking targeted medications.

Lifestyle changes with the biggest bang for your buck

 

Sure, a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone. But with high blood pressure in particular, some changes can really move your numbers into the healthy range says Ms. Ames.

  1. Lose weight. The heart works harder to pump blood in and around a larger body. Losing weight can reduce the stress on the heart and lower blood pressure.
  2. Eat less salt. The salt shaker isn’t the biggest problem here – take-out foods and highly processed packaged foods are the main culprits. Get started by eating less of the salty six: deli meats, sandwiches made with deli meats and cheeses, soup, salty snacks like chips and pretzels, fried chicken and pizza.
  3. Add exercise. Exercise makes the heart stronger so it doesn’t have to work as hard. Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy body weight by burning fat and building muscle.
  4. Manage stress. Stress hormones immediately increase blood pressure. Simple deep breathing or meditation turns off the body’s stress response and brings blood pressure down.
  5. Drink less alcohol. Too much alcohol can increase blood pressure. Two drinks per day or less for men and one drink or less for women is considered moderate drinking.
  6. Eat more fruits and vegetables. The potassium and magnesium in fruits and vegetables balances sodium in the diet and naturally reduces blood pressure. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet. The DASH diet is an eating plan specifically formulated for people with high blood pressure.

Medication

Blood pressure medications are commonly known as antihypertensives. There are many different types of antihypertensive medications and they all work differently to control high blood pressure.

Your doctor will review your medical history to help decide which drug or combination of drugs will be best for you.

“There is no one size fits all approach. Medication is extremely useful to control blood pressure, but the best approach includes both medication and lifestyle changes to bring blood pressure into normal range,” says Ms. Ames.

Get your numbers under control

It’s important to control your blood pressure before it leads to other health problems. Start today and schedule an appointment with one of our primary care physicians. Your partner in health is just a phone call away.

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