Controlling high blood pressure forces us to examine our lifestyles. Blood pressure often responds to changes in diet, exercise level and stress management. Patients can do a lot to impact and control their own blood pressure, by active prevention measures and simple monitoring of their hypertension.Monitoring. Regular blood pressure monitoring allows you and your doctor to gauge how well you’re controlling your hypertension, and is essential for any hypertension treatment program.
Doing a little research into your family history can also help your doctor determine your risk of hypertension. Because high blood pressure is seldom accompanied by outward physical symptoms, it is helpful to consider your family’s medical history. Do any of your relatives have histories of heart problems, high cholesterol levels or kidney disease? Any of these may represent increased risk factors for the development of high blood pressure. Like heart problems, hypertension problems are often hereditary.
Want to reduce your chances of hypertension and heart problems? Here’s what you can do:
Lose weight. Losing as little as ten pounds can reduce blood pressure.
Quit smoking. Easier said than done, but every cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure and makes your heart work harder.
Start exercising. The benefits of even a moderate exercise program are far-reaching. Not only do you lower your blood pressure, you gain extra energy and feel better about yourself.
Reduce the salt in your diet. Salt has been targeted as a major dietary cause of hypertension. The average western diet contains much more salt than our bodies actually need.
Researchers agree that stress affects blood pressure, but what constitutes stress differs from person to person. Stress management helps control hypertension, but you have to tailor your stress management program to your individual needs.
Make a list of the stressors in your life, and consider how to reduce stress in each area. Some people exercise to control stress, others pursue meditation or progressive relaxation. Still others learn how to set more realistic goals for themselves. Whatever path you choose for stress management, make sure that it works for you personally. Otherwise, you could just be adding stress!