If you’ve been diagnosed with High Blood Pressure (HBP or Hypertension), chances are that your doctor has suggested or even prescribed you medication to help lower your blood pressure. However, blood pressure medication is not a cure for hypertension because it does not address the underlying cause(s) of your high blood pressure.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with HBP, you’ll need to take necessary steps or lifestyle changes to control your high blood pressure, especially if you want to get off your medication* or avoid taking it altogether.
The following five lifestyle changes have been proven to decrease high blood pressure and improve overall health effectively.
Understanding High Blood Pressure
First things first: what exactly is high blood pressure? According to Heart.org, high blood pressure is defined as, “ High blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high.” In 2017, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and 9 other health organizations lowered the numbers for diagnosis of HBP to 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and higher for all adults. High blood pressure is known as a silent killer and can lead to vision loss, kidney disease, sexual dysfunction disorders, heart attack/failure, and stroke if left untreated.
High blood pressure often occurs due to several factors that include, but are not limited to:
- Smoking Tobacco
- Consuming Alcohol Daily
- Sleep Apnea
- Being Overweight or Obese
In most cases, a person will have high blood pressure as a result of a few different reasons. When you work with a functional medicine provider in Oak Brook, IL, he or she will help you discover why your blood pressure is high and create an effective treatment program that will help you control and ideally resolve your high blood pressure.
Another important thing to note is if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is something that you will need to monitor for the rest of your life. But making and sticking to healthy lifestyle changes can make “monitoring” your blood pressure a lot less stressful.
Control Your HBP On Your Terms
Daily exercise has been proven effective in lowering blood pressure. Anything that gets the body in motion, such as walking, swimming, running, riding a bike, etc., can reduce blood pressure. Additionally, lifting weights can lower cholesterol and blood pressure. We suggest starting with thirty minutes, three days a week of exercise, and increasing the time and number of days as you’re ready for a goal of at least 150 minutes per week.
Eat The Rainbow
The more colorful your plate, the more chance you have of consuming more nutritious foods! That being said, a person’s diet is highly personal and should reflect their goals as well as their preferences and take into account any allergies or sensitivities they may have. Consult with your direct primary care provider in Oak Brook, IL, to create a diet plan that makes sense for you.
As if we needed another reason to put down the cigarettes, smoking causes high blood pressure and increases your risk of heart disease, and cancer. If you are a smoker, quitting smoking is one of the fastest ways to lower your blood pressure and improve your health all around.
Since high blood pressure can be caused and exacerbated by chronic stress, it makes sense that managing your stress and building stress resilience can reduce your blood pressure. Take some time to think about what situations create the most stress in your life and then find a way to eliminate or reduce these stressors. Removing all stress is pretty much impossible to do, so another tactic of stress management and building stress resilience is finding healthier ways to deal with your stress, such as exercise, journaling, meditation, yoga, being out in nature, exploring interests and hobbies, talking to a friend, etc.
As previously mentioned, once diagnosed with high blood pressure, you will need to monitor it regularly. Monitoring your blood pressure at home and keeping regular appointments with your healthcare provider in Oak Brook, IL, will help you and your provider to see if your lifestyle changes are positively impacting your blood pressure. Routine visits can also prevent complications from arising.
When it comes to high blood pressure, knowledge is power. The more you know about your health, the easier it will be to make changes and create habits that will help you succeed. If you are concerned that you may have high blood pressure, or if you are looking for a more holistic and functional approach to treat your Hypertension including trying to wean off medications, contact Vitality Family Health today.
*Do not stop taking high blood pressure medication without first talking to your doctor.