How to Prevent High Blood Pressure

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Prevent High Blood Pressure, How to Prevent High Blood Pressure, Dr. Nicolle

Hello. This is Hypertension Prevention Tuesdays! Today, we’ll talk about how to prevent high blood pressure. By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Preventing high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension, can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. Practice the following healthy living habits:

Eat a Healthy Diet

Choose healthy meal and snack options to help you avoid high blood pressure and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

Talk with your health care team about eating a variety of foods rich in potassium, fiber, and protein and lower in salt (sodium) and saturated fat. For many people, making these healthy changes can help keep blood pressure low and protect against heart disease and stroke.

 

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating planexternal icon is a healthy diet plan with a proven record of helping people lower their blood pressure.1

 

Keep Yourself at a Healthy Weight

Having overweight or obesity increases your risk for high blood pressure. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight website. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to assess body fat.

 

Talk with your health care team about ways to reach a healthy weight, including choosing healthy foods and getting regular physical activity.

Prevent High Blood Pressure, How to Prevent High Blood Pressure, Dr. Nicolle

Be Physically Active

Physical activity can help keep you at a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americansexternal icon recommends that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or bicycling, every week. That’s about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day.

 

Do Not Smoke

Smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.

 

Limit How Much Alcohol You Drink

Do not drink too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day, and women should have no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day.

 

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important to your overall health, and enough sleep is part of keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

 

References

  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure With DASH pdf icon[PDF – 792K]external icon. NIH Pub. No. 06-4082. Bethesda, MD: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; 2006.
  2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency. (2019). https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiencyexternal icon. Accessed October 7, 2019.

If you would like to receive a free resource sheet to support your quest for better heart health, click the button below to receive your gift.

 

Prevent High Blood Pressure, How to Prevent High Blood Pressure, Dr. Nicolle

 

I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.

 

As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.

 

Tools to Improve Heart Health

Blood Pressure Monitoring

It’s very important to monitor your blood pressure. I often recommend an automatic upper arm blood pressure cuff, but a wrist blood pressure monitor is also acceptable.

Prevent High Blood Pressure, How to Prevent High Blood Pressure, Dr. Nicolle

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.

 

Prevent High Blood Pressure, How to Prevent High Blood Pressure, Dr. NicolleRemember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.

 

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

 

Stay healthy,

 

Dr. Nicolle

 

PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

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