High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a chronic condition where a person has higher blood pressure than usual or is healthy. Many people develop high blood pressure when they’re older, which causes their hearts to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Because of this, untreated high blood pressure can lead to further heart problems, such as heart disease or cardiac arrest. Therefore, it’s essential to treat high blood pressure once diagnosed.
1. Prevention through diet and exercise
Ideally, an individual would be taking measures to prevent the risk of developing high blood pressure in the first place. Leading an unhealthy lifestyle is one of the best predictors of high blood pressure. To mitigate this risk, eat a balanced diet low in sodium and high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and aim to get a minimum of 150 minutes of weekly exercise. Even if a person has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, adopting these positive lifestyle changes can significantly contribute to managing their condition.
2. Medication and monitoring
Many people with hypertension must take one or more medicine to control their blood pressure. Along with medicating correctly, an individual with hypertension should also have their blood pressure checked on a regular basis. Keeping a record of blood pressure readings ensures that the medication is working as intended.
3. Reduce daily stress
Multiple studies show a strong link between stress and high blood pressure. There are many ways to manage stress, such as meditation, breathing exercises, and engaging in hobbies. Physical exercise can help lower stress as well as blood pressure.
4. Cut back on tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol
Once ingested, both caffeine and tobacco have the effect of temporarily raising blood pressure. Similarly, drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and impact the efficacy of certain blood pressure medications, too. However, some studies suggest that drinking in moderation may play a role in protecting heart health.
Depending on their patient’s personal circumstances, a doctor may recommend some or all of the above interventions for dealing with high blood pressure. Whether someone suspects high blood pressure or is actively managing it, the most important step in their treatment is communicating with their doctor.