4 Tips to Manage High Blood Pressure
The healthcare providers at our clinics treat patients for high blood pressure and counsel them on lifestyle changes to improve their heart health. Below are some general guidelines we recommend to patients for managing high blood pressure as well as some tips for preventing it in the first place.
In 2019, 33% of Pennsylvania residents were diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension, which is slightly higher than the national average (America’s Health Rankings). At our health centers, we strive to reduce these numbers by helping our community members in in West Grove, Oxford, and Kennett Square make healthy choices to live longer and more productive lives. While some of the below suggestions are simple changes that can make a big impact on high blood pressure, there’s still a lot more to consider if you fall into this high-risk category. For more information, be sure to speak to your doctor. Our medical providers in our health center in Kennett Square and our health center in Oxford are here to listen and develop a long-term strategy.
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables.
Emphasizing fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet can improve many health outcomes including high blood pressure. These foods are naturally filling and contain the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function well. Prioritizing potassium-rich foods can also help prevent and manage high blood pressure. Consuming too much sodium can contribute to hypertension and since potassium naturally offsets sodium, focusing on foods high in potassium can help your body maintain a health potassium-sodium balance. Bananas, spinach, dried beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes, prunes, and apricots are all high in potassium (UofMHealth). Avoid high-sodium foods such as fast food, deli meats and cheeses, and frozen dinners.
- Get Moving.
Regular exercise is an integral part of supporting good health. Making time for more movement in your day can help prevent or manage high blood pressure through strengthening your heart, increasing your heart’s ability to pump blood throughout your body, and decreasing your blood pressure. A brisk daily walk is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health. You could also try other modes of movement such as yoga, dance, martial arts, swimming, roller skating, and bike riding. Make it enjoyable so that you will be more likely to sustain your practice!
- Don’t Smoke.
Smoking leads to hardened arteries and reduced cardiovascular health that can lead to many negative health outcomes including high blood pressure, heart disease, COPD, etc. If you currently smoke, look into one of our smoking cessation programs. There are methods and modifications you can make to eliminate this habit for good. Getting support is easier than ever before, so now is the time to make the commitment to yourself and those you love to quit smoking and lead a healthier life.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight (BMI – Basic Metabolic index)
Keeping your weight down is an important step toward preventing high blood pressure and heart disease. There are many ways to approach this, but one that has already been introduced in this blog post is to begin by eating more fruits and vegetables. They fill you up and help reduce cravings. You should reduce refined and fatty foods including fried foods and fast foods. Generally focusing on more whole foods will put you on track to maintain a healthy weight – this means focusing more on lean meats and vegetables. Avoid sodas and make sure you drink plenty of water.