Thursday, November 1, 2012
How to Alleviate Hypertison With These Lifestyle Changes
photo from www.tensoval.com
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition in which the force of blood pressure against the blood vessel walls is increased beyond a normal and healthy level. High blood pressure requires the heart to work harder, and can lead to many health problems, including heart failure, kidney failure, heart attack, aneurysm, or stroke.
Many people have hypertension for years without noticing any symptoms, even if dangerously high blood pressure levels are eventually discovered by a doctor. This is why it is important to get regular checkups with your doctor to test for such things as high blood pressure so that treatment can begin. Doctors typically recommend that people get tested for high blood every two years once they have reached the age of 18, or more often if you are at high risk for hypertension or have already been diagnosed with the disorder.
If you have hypertension, your doctor may recommend treatment medications that work to control your blood pressure levels. It is also important to make lifestyle changes. If your blood pressure hasn’t reached a dangerous level, lifestyle changes may be all that you need to alleviate the condition. Be sure to ask your doctor for the best treatment plan for your particular situation.
Making Daily Lifestyle Changes
There are several steps that you can take to reduce hypertension to enhance the effects of conventional treatment (blood pressure medication) or to alleviate the problem without needing to take medication at all. Make use of the following tips to get started:
Take walks. Individuals with hypertension can reduce high blood pressure by taking power walks almost every day. Exercise is very important for ensuring that your heart uses oxygen with greater efficiency so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to get blood to the rest of your body. Try to achieve a brisk 30-minute walk as many days a week as possible. As you build up your endurance and strength, increase the distance and speed of your walks to improve your heart health.
Stress reduction. Stress can do a number on the health of your body, and can be a significant contributing factor to hypertension. Get into the habit of performing stress reduction exercises—such as yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or tai chi—on a regular basis. In addition, work on becoming more flexible and resilient with life’s daily challenges. Reduced emotional tension will also work to reduce your blood pressure.
Assess sodium intake. In many cases, sodium (salt) intake is a contributing factor to the development of hypertension. There isn’t a definitive method for determining if a person is sensitive to sodium intake. However, by learning to read food labels for levels of sodium, you will be able to take greater control of your diet to ensure that you aren’t overdoing it on sodium. In general, doctors recommend that people consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily.
Consume potassium-rich foods. Potassium-rich foods are ideal for reducing high blood pressure. In particular, fruits and vegetables that are rich in potassium are essential for a healthy heart and for reduced blood pressure. Food sources that are rich in potassium include cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, kidney beans, bananas, dried fruits, and honeydew melon. Try to consume between 2,000-4,000 mg of potassium each day.
Making these lifestyle changes will make a difference in your overall well-being, including your ability to reduce hypertension. Be sure to keep your doctor posted in the lifestyle changes that you are making. This will allow your doctor to determine what changes are helping or hindering your condition so that your treatment plan can be adjusted as needed.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon and writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news