A healthy Lifestyle plays an important role in controlling and treating high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline:
Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being obese can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (called as sleep apnoea), which further raises your blood pressure.
Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. As a thumb rule, you may reduce your blood pressure by about 1 millimetre of mercury (mm Hg) with each kilogram (which is about 2.2 pounds) of weight you lose.
Keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.
- Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 centimetres).
- Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (89 centimetres).
Walking about 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg.
If you have elevated blood pressure, exercise can help you avoid developing hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.
Eat a healthy diet:
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products reduces saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg.
Reduce sodium in your diet:
Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg if you have high blood pressure.
If you can limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less it will help reduced elevated blood pressure However, a lower sodium intake — 1,500 mg a day or less — is ideal for most adults.
To decrease sodium in your diet, consider these tips:
- Read food labels. If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives of the foods and beverages you normally buy.
- Eat fewer processed foods. Only a small amount of sodium occurs naturally in foods. Most sodium is added during processing.
- Don’t add salt. Just 1 level teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Use herbs or spices to add flavour to your food.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink:
Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. By drinking alcohol only in moderation — generally one drink a day for women, or two a day for men — you can potentially lower your blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg.
Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal and reduces your risk of heart disease and improves your overall health
Cut back on caffeine:
The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debatable. Caffeine can raise blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg in people who rarely consume it. But people who drink coffee regularly may experience little or no effect on their blood pressure.
Reduce your stress:
Chronic stress may contribute to high blood pressure. Often times stress also can contribute to high blood pressure if you react to stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking. Try to cope with stress in a healthier way.
- Change your expectations.
- Focus on issues you can control and make plans to solve them.
- Avoid stress triggers. For example, if rush-hour traffic on the way to work causes stress, try leaving earlier in the morning, or take public transportation. Avoid people who cause you stress if possible.
- Make time to relax and to do activities you enjoy. Take time each day to sit quietly and breathe deeply. Make time for enjoyable activities or hobbies in your schedule, such as taking a walk, cooking or volunteering.
- Practice gratitude. Expressing gratitude to others can help reduce your stress.
Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly:
Home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your blood pressure, make certain your lifestyle changes are working, and alert you and your doctor to potential health complications.
Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. If you find you need support beyond your family and friends, consider joining a support group. This may put you in touch with people who can give you an emotional or morale boost and who can offer practical tips to cope with your condition.