Like many aspects of ill-health, high blood pressure (hypertension) can be a direct result of unhealthy lifestyle choices and it is a problem to be taken seriously. Increased blood pressure poses the risk of potentially life-changing or fatal conditions including stroke, aneurysm, dementia or heart failure. Fortunately some simple lifestyle choices can help to lower your blood pressure and are also recommended to help to prevent hypertension in the future.
Cut your salt intake
Like sugar, salt is a taste to which many people have become accustomed even though humans have, historically, not required it to add flavour to their meals. The effects of eating salt can be damaging; one consequence is that it causes the body to retain water which in turn forces blood pressure to rise, so the more salt you heap onto your food, the higher your blood pressure will become in time. A simple preventative measure you can take is to cut out salt from your diet (including not adding it when cooking) and seek low-salt options when shopping for groceries.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
Drinking too much alcohol can cause increased blood pressure so it is important that you know the recommended limits and keep within these.
A healthy heart and lower blood pressure can be achieved by exercising regularly. If possible work out for 30 minutes five times each week but if this proves to be unrealistic, short bursts of exercise will help. Joining a gym isn’t always necessary; any activity that increases your heart rate and leaves you a little breathless is beneficial.
Enjoy a balanced diet
Being overweight is a risk factor for high blood pressure so eating a balanced diet, rich in fruit, vegetables and fibre and low in fats and sugars, will help you to achieve an optimum weight. Combining a healthy diet with regular exercise is the starting point for losing weight and will help to lower your blood pressure and keep your heart in a healthy condition.
Keeping your blood pressure low isn’t rocket science but the natural outcome of some simple lifestyle choices. Remember to have your blood pressure monitored regularly and if it continues to stay high, consult your doctor as soon as possible.