Most people need to make life adjustments after they develop hypertension (high blood pressure). The reason is simple: Lifestyle changes and medications are the only treatments. Your daily habits have such an impact that lifestyle changes alone may get your blood pressure back to normal.
Whether you face big changes or only need to make a few minor adjustments, one thing is certain: The life adjustments recommended by Dr. Laura Fernandes at Woodlands Heart and Vascular Institute can treat your hypertension and add years to your life.
Let’s start by talking about what’s at stake if you don’t lower your blood pressure. When hypertension goes untreated, the ongoing pressure damages your arteries and puts excessive stress on your heart.
As a result, hypertension is a leading cause of:
You can significantly lower your risk or prevent these health problems by getting your blood pressure down to normal and keeping it there.
After you’re diagnosed with hypertension, most aspects of your life won’t change. Depending on your current habits, you may need to gradually adjust your diet, increase your daily activity, lose weight, stop smoking, or reduce stress. And if you have severe hypertension, you may also need to take medications.
The amount of salt you consume directly impacts your blood pressure. Reducing the salt in your diet isn’t just essential, it’s also one of the quickest ways to lower your blood pressure.
Though you may need to cut back on the amount of salt you add to your food, most dietary salt comes from prepared foods. That means it’s important to lower the amount of salt you get from things like restaurant fare, canned foods, cold cuts, bread, and pizza.
On the other hand, potassium offsets the effect of salt and lowers your blood pressure. You can get potassium from a variety of fruits and vegetables, including leafy greens.
Exercise lowers your blood pressure by strengthening your heart and blood vessels. You don’t need to jump into an intensive exercise routine or join a gym. Moderate activities like walking, dancing, and cycling make a big difference, as long as you do them on a regular basis.
It’s usually safe to exercise if you only have hypertension, but check with us before you get started. We can guide your efforts by recommending the optimal amount of exercise for your general health.
If you need to lose weight, you’re well on your way with a healthy diet and regular exercise. But the most important element is limiting the number of calories you consume each day. We can help you determine a good calorie goal for weight loss.
When you smoke, your blood pressure temporarily increases. Additionally, the chemicals in cigarette smoke damage your heart and blood vessels. Any amount of smoking, including an occasional cigarette and breathing second-hand smoke, increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.
When you’re under stress, your body releases hormones that tighten your blood vessels and raise your heart rate, changes that contribute to hypertension. Though stress alone may not cause hypertension, reducing stress goes a long way toward lowering your blood pressure.
Medication can’t do its job if you don’t take the proper dose. Yet 40% of people fail to take their prescribed antihypertensive medications.
There are many reasons patients don’t take their medications. You may have side effects, simply forget to take them, or feel overwhelmed if you take multiple medications for several chronic health conditions.
Talk with us if you have any medication issues. We can help you find a way around the problem so you can take life-saving medications.
Whether you want your blood pressure checked or need help with existing hypertension, call Woodlands Heart and Vascular Institute or book an appointment online today.