7 Ways to Manage Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the most common medical conditions in the world, affecting approximately one billion people worldwide. 

But it’s one of the few diseases that’s completely treatable and even reversible in many cases. These seven ways to manage hypertension will help you lower your blood pressure and get back to living your life to the fullest!

1) Stay Active

Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity a day, which can reduce blood pressure by an average of 5 points, according to research published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine. A brisk walk is an easy way to get started; it also has other benefits like stress reduction and improved mood.
 If you’re not into walking, try swimming, biking or playing tennis—or break out your childhood ride-on toy and have fun going up and down your driveway.
Also, avoid sitting for prolonged periods. Research shows that excessive sitting can increase your risk of heart disease—even if you exercise regularly.

2) Eat Less Salt

Too much sodium causes your body to retain excess water. This extra water weight makes it difficult for your heart to function properly and can cause a blood pressure spike. 
When you eat less salt, your kidneys don’t have as much work and lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, so it’s essential you keep an eye on how much salt you’re consuming in food—in addition to making sure you’re drinking enough water.

3) Get a Good Night’s Sleep

When we don’t get enough sleep, our body releases more of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol helps us respond to stress, but it also causes our blood pressure levels rise. Furthermore, getting too little shut-eye can put us at risk for hypertension and high cholesterol. 
Sleep experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep per night for most adults; if you’re feeling tired, it’s time to talk with your doctor about ways you can improve your sleeping habits. Below are some tips that may help.

4) Have Fun

For people with hypertension, exercise can be one of your best weapons against symptoms. Exercise is a key component of lowering blood pressure in healthy adults; and according to one study, it can reduce blood pressure by up to 4 points. The more physically active you are, the greater impact it will have on your blood pressure.
 So keep things interesting and try new activities—whatever gets you moving! Remember: Your health care provider knows what’s best for your particular situation so if you’re working out under their guidance, make sure that they know everything about your heart health and overall condition. Also talk to them before starting any new activity program or training regimen so they can help ensure that it’s safe for you, then monitor how you’re doing as well. And if there’s anything else that concerns or interests them about your condition (such as frequent headaches), be sure to tell them about that too! 
You should also talk to a doctor or registered dietitian before starting an exercise program—particularly if you haven’t been very active lately or aren’t accustomed to regular physical activity.

5) Exercise Regularly

There are several reasons why exercise is important for preventing and managing hypertension. Exercise helps improve blood pressure levels by strengthening your heart, building endurance, and boosting your metabolism. 
It also reduces stress, which has been shown to raise blood pressure in many cases. Finally, exercise helps you relax; poor mental health can make hypertension worse by increasing levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Regular aerobic exercise such as brisk walking or cycling may be sufficient for improving blood pressure; resistance training (weightlifting) will also help you retain muscle mass as you lose weight. 
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week: about 30 minutes a day on most days is enough.

6) Eat Right

Your diet has a huge impact on your blood pressure. A sedentary lifestyle, high-sodium foods, and excessive alcohol consumption can all contribute to hypertension. 
That’s why it’s important to stick with a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and fish—all of which are heart healthy and can reduce your risk of hypertension. It’s also essential to get exercise each day: even light activity like walking for 30 minutes can be beneficial for your health! 
You should also aim for an ideal body weight; those who are overweight are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

7) Don’t Smoke or Drink Too Much Alcohol

Smoking is just as bad for your blood pressure as it is for your lungs. And heavy drinking — or chronic drinking, which can lead to liver problems and high blood pressure — is not good for you in any way. 
That’s why cutting back on both is essential for controlling hypertension. In fact, cutting out smoking may be enough to get you into a normal range; some studies have found that people who quit smoking alone saw their blood pressure drop into healthy ranges within six months of quitting.

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