What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, occurs when systolic pressure (top number) reads 140 or above, or diastolic pressure (bottom number) reads 90 or above. While hypertension usually doesn’t exhibit any symptoms, it does contribute to 15 percent of deaths in the United States. Also, it is associated with many serious medical conditions and emergencies, like heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, aneurysms, and cognitive decline. Fortunately, there are a few ways to lower your blood pressure.
Ways to lower your blood pressure
Though medication can be prescribed to lower your blood pressure, simply making some lifestyle adjustments can often do the trick, too.
Limit your salt intake
Most people don’t realize how much salt they’re consuming and how negatively it can affect their blood pressure and overall health. For those who have high blood pressure, stick to no more than 1,500 mg per day. Be sure to read labels, use salt-free seasonings, and avoid processed foods.
Get regular exercise
Incorporating at least 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week has been shown to lower blood pressure. If you’re just beginning, start with short durations and work your way up. Further, exercise can help shed excess pounds, which can also aid in reducing blood pressure levels.
Lower caffeine intake
Caffeine can raise your blood pressure by constricting blood vessels and magnifying the effects of stress. Stress causes the heart to pump a higher volume of blood, resulting in higher levels of blood pressure. Caffeine can exaggerate this effect.
Avoid tobacco products
In addition to all the other health risks associated with tobacco products, the nicotine has been shown to spike blood pressure levels for up to an hour after use. With continual use, this puts blood pressure at a steady high.