January 9th, 2023
Blood pressure is one of the most important health indicators. Blood pressure measurements begin for most individuals at age 3, and they increase in importance as we grow older. As one approaches the golden years, keeping your blood pressure at a safe level is key to preventing hypertension, heart complications, stroke, and the onset of dementia. Here are seven feasible tips for keep your circulation steady.
When grocery shopping, look for the low sodium label
The presence of sodium (most commonly found in table salt) constricts the blood vessels and leads to higher blood pressure. Mitigate sodium consumption by cutting down processed foods, “cured” meats, and soy-based sauces. Opt instead for vinaigrettes and spices to add flavor to meals.
Exercise 30 minutes a day
Doctors recommend a daily half-hour of physical exercise. Aerobic activity stimulates the blood vessels to expand and contract, keeping them flexible. Hobbies such as hiking, power-walking, bike riding, swimming, and water aerobics are all good exercises for daily fitness. According to a recent report from the CDC, only 20% of American adults get this amount of aerobic activity.
Cut down on alcohol consumption
When ingested, alcohol triggers the production of renin, which narrows the blood vessels. Men should have to limit alcohol intake to two drinks per day, and one drink for women. Reducing alcohol consumption with age is well-advised in general to promote better cognitive function and immunity.
Smoke inhalation from cigars, rolled marijuana, and cigarettes will inflame the cells lining blood vessels, leading to constriction that increases blood pressure. If you are a smoker, talk to your doctor about cutting back on your habit with the goal to quit completely.
Talk to your doctor about a weight loss plan
While it varies by ethnic group, many doctors agree that slimming the waistline decreases the amount of superfluous vascular tissue that burdens the circulatory system. There is no “one size fits all” plan for weight loss. Discuss your options with your doctor; making simple lifestyle changes themselves may lead to weight loss without constructing a strict regimen.
Improve sleep hygiene
Good sleep is one of the best remedies and has been proven to lower blood pressure. Use room-darkening curtains (if needed) and silence all electronics up to an hour before bedtime. Homeopathic aids such as melatonin, chamomile tea, and white noise/nature sounds may also prove effective.
Try the DASH diet
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Recommendations in DASH are simple to incorporate into your daily meals. One of the main tenets is an increase in potassium, a mineral which encourages the pumping of the heart. Clinically proven to lower blood pressure in a few weeks, this diet adjustment can also assist with weight loss and cancer prevention.
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Blood pressure is a serious concern, but luckily you can manage it with the help of a St. Joseph Hospital provider.