According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of adults (48.1%) have high blood pressure, also called hypertension. High blood pressure is defined as a systolic blood pressure of 130 or higher and a diastolic blood pressure of 80 or higher.
Blood pressure that is too high increases the risk of stroke and heart attacks; therefore, it is essential to keep it under control.
High blood pressure treatment typically involves a combination of a healthy lifestyle and medication. In this post, we will discuss how to lower high blood pressure by making simple healthy lifestyle changes and possibly adding medication to your routine.
Lifestyle changes to help lower high blood pressure
A healthier lifestyle is always included in the guidelines for treating hypertension. Here are a few changes you can make to improve your numbers:
Adopt a heart-healthy diet
A heart-healthy diet pattern is one way to improve your blood pressure. Following the DASH diet is a great way to start. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches for Stopping Hypertension. It can also help improve other risk factors of heart disease, such as elevated cholesterol.
DASH involves eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains while lowering your intake of foods high in sodium and saturated fat. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of potassium, a mineral that helps counteract the blood pressure-elevating effects of sodium. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and low in fat, which also helps lower cholesterol in the blood.
Daily cardio exercise
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This is approximately 30 minutes per day, five days per week. Cardiovascular exercises include walking, swimming, jogging, dancing or riding a bike.
Understand and reduce stress
Stress hormones, such as cortisol, constrict blood vessels increasing blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Taking control of your stress with regular exercise, meditation, self-care and other stress management practices can help regulate your blood pressure.
Control your intake of sodium
Sodium can increase blood pressure. Lowering sodium intake is one simple way to control blood pressure that you can easily implement by reading labels.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that people with hypertension keep sodium intake to less than 1500 mg per day. Eating fewer processed foods and carefully reading labels can help you reach that goal.
High blood pressure treatment
At times, high blood pressure may require treatment with medications. There are many different types of blood pressure medications. These may include:
- ACE inhibitors
- Alpha-2 receptor agonists
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
The type of medication you need is determined by your healthcare provider after an initial assessment of your overall lifestyle and medical conditions.
Monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis
Monitoring your blood pressure regularly is an important part of staying healthy, even if you are not diagnosed with high blood pressure. A blood pressure check is typically done at an annual physical exam.
You may need to check your blood pressure at home if you have hypertension. Your healthcare provider will provide instructions for how often to check your blood pressure and what to do with an elevated result.
Can urgent care treat high blood pressure?
Our urgent care centers are a great place to get started with blood pressure treatment. Our caring providers can screen you for high blood pressure, provide an initial assessment and care plan, and refer you to one of our in-network partners for further follow-up and care. We also offer lab testing services and evaluations for many other heart health concerns.
We are open 365 days a year, seven days a week. You can walk in, save your spot online or schedule a virtual visit at any of our conveniently located centers to get started.