Receiving a diagnosis of hypertension from your physician can be a cause for concern. You might not have ever imagined yourself as the type of person who would have to worry about something such as high blood pressure, and it isn’t uncommon to worry about the possible ramifications of such a condition.
There are several more severe heart conditions that are linked to having high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart failure, heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. Knowing this can cause you to start looking for ways to bring your blood pressure down to a more manageable level.
Hypertension is something that nearly half of Americans over the age of 18 have. Moreover, the reasons for developing high blood pressure are many and range from things like a genetic predisposition to certain lifestyle choices and habits. The good news is, though, that hypertension is something that can be managed relatively easily in many cases.
It is important to make sure that you are careful to take all guidance and advice regarding your condition given to you by your physician seriously. Your doctor should always be your first point of reference when you are looking to manage your hypertension on a day to day basis. They might very well have specific instructions that you need to follow in order to get a handle on your high blood pressure.
That being said, with such a common condition, it isn’t surprising that much of the guidance regarding the management of hypertension is relatively standard. Depending on the severity of your high blood pressure, you might even be able to manage it without the use of medication. As always, make sure that your doctor is comfortable with any steps you plan to take in order to cope with your hypertension.
Here are just a few of the ways in which you can get a better handle on your high blood pressure so that you can lead a healthier lifestyle and reduce the chances that you will develop a more serious heart related condition down the line.
Get in the Habit of Checking Your BP
One of the first things that you should do when you receive a diagnosis of hypertension is invest in a quality, reliable blood pressure monitor. The fact of the matter is that simply having your blood pressure checked when you visit the doctor isn’t enough. It is much better to keep a constant eye on it by monitoring yourself at home.
When measuring your blood pressure, it is best to do so at the same time every day and under as consistent conditions as possible. An easy way to accomplish this is to make checking your blood pressure a part of your morning routine. After you have been awake for about half an hour and before you eat breakfast, use your blood pressure monitor to see where you are at.
There are a variety of monitors out there to choose from, and many come with convenient features such as Bluetooth connectivity. An automatic blood pressure monitor with such a feature allows you to sink your data into an app on your phone so that you can really keep an eye on your blood pressure going forward. This also makes it easy to share your data with your physician when you check in with them.
Make Dietary Changes
Regardless of just how serious your hypertension is, it is highly likely that your physician will recommend that you make certain changes to your diet to manage your blood pressure. Unfortunately, the diet of the average American isn’t exactly the most conducive to a healthy heart.
The reality of the situation is that when you consume too many calories, as far too many are in the habit of doing, you are more likely to put on extra pounds. There is a direct link between your weight and your heart health, and so much about your weight has to do with the amount and type of food that you choose to eat.
While a complete overhaul of your diet might not be necessary at this time, it is a good idea to start thinking more about what the foods you are eating truly contain. For instance, if you tend to eat foods that contain high amounts of sodium, then your intake in this area might have something to do with your hypertension.
Reducing the amount of sodium that you consume on a daily basis is a great place to start when looking to manage your hypertension. It would help if you also considered watching your calorie intake as well. Cutting back on calories to reach a healthier weight can have a genuinely positive impact on your heart health.
Another common piece of advice often given to those diagnosed with hypertension is to increase their amount of routine exercise. Getting active is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get a grip on your heart health and reduce the chances that you will develop a more severe heart condition down the line.
If you aren’t exactly a gym fanatic, you might find the concept of increasing your physical activity a bit daunting. The good news is that it doesn’t take much in order to reach the level of activity that you need. Instead, a relatively light exercise regimen can make a great deal of difference to your heart health.
Moreover, you can start simple with your activity and work your way up to a more intense regimen. This is actually one of the best approaches to increasing your activity level that you can take. By starting simple and working your way up, you can give your body the chance to adjust to the increase in activity. Over time, you can find yourself doing more and more and making some serious strides towards a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Kick Those Bad Habits
Even though it can present a bit of a challenge, another one of the more important steps that you can take in order to get a better handle on your hypertension is to kick some of the bad habits that you might be holding on to. Things like smoking cigarettes, consuming too much alcohol, and drinking too much caffeine throughout the day can all make high blood pressure worse.
It is always recommended that you are as honest as possible with your physician when they ask you about such habits. The only way that they can give you accurate and useful guidance about managing your hypertension is if they have all the necessary information.
Furthermore, there are other health benefits to be had when you are able to put these habits behind you. Not only will you find that your energy levels are naturally higher, but you might even be able to get better sleep at night.
To that point, getting good, quality sleep at night is also something that you should seek to achieve when your aim is to get a better handle on your hypertension. When you sleep at night and your body goes through its circadian rhythm, your hormones can find a better balance.
While the jury is still out about the direct impact of sleep on high blood pressure, there is evidence to suggest a connection between certain heart conditions and poor sleep at night. One thing that is for sure is that getting better sleep at night, both in quantity and quality, can help your body to better regulate its cortisol levels. This can, in turn, have a positive effect on stress levels.
Stress is another aspect of your overall health and wellness that you will want to monitor when you are looking to manage your hypertension, getting better sleep at night is something that can indirectly help. This is also something that can be accomplished with relative ease, and that can have positive effects on other areas of your health.
The lifestyle changes that are necessary to make when you need to get a better handle on high blood pressure can be tough. You might be used to living a certain way and unsure how to best make the right changes. You know that changes are important, but how precisely can you make lasting changes that will help you manage your hypertension?
If you are serious about altering your lifestyle to promote better heart health, one of the best things you can do is find a support system. A close friend or family member can make all the difference when you need someone to lean on as things get tough.
If there is someone in your life, such as your spouse or significant other, who is willing to join you on your journey to better health, the changes that you make can have better chances of sticking for the long haul. In the end, however, simply having someone to talk through your struggles with can make all the difference in the world as you seek to manage your hypertension.
Following these tips should help you to better manage your high blood pressure and prevent you from developing a more serious and potentially life-threatening heart condition.