associatesMD logo

7 Lifestyle Changes That Can Help You Control Hypertension 

misc image

7 Lifestyle Changes That Can Help You Control Hypertension 

May is High Blood Pressure Education Month — a time dedicated to raising awareness about this potentially deadly condition that affects 48% of American adults

Hypertension is characterized by elevated pressure inside the arteries, which strains the heart and increases the risk of cardiovascular complications.

Often referred to as the "silent killer," hypertension typically shows no symptoms until it leads to severe health issues like heart disease, stroke, or kidney failure. The lack of symptoms means that many people with hypertension are unaware of their condition. It underscores the importance of regular blood pressure screenings and proactive lifestyle changes.

Our team at AssociatesMD is here to help. We offer high blood pressure management and cardiology care in Plantation, Davie, Weston, Pembroke Pines, Margate, Dania Beach, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

We take a holistic approach to managing hypertension, and one of the most effective strategies is making lifestyle changes. Here are seven lifestyle changes that can help you take control of your hypertension and improve your overall health.

1. Eat a healthy diet

A diet high in sodium, saturated fats, and processed foods can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries, elevate your blood pressure, and increase your risk of cardiovascular problems.

In contrast, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can significantly lower your blood pressure. 

Emphasize foods high in potassium, including bananas, spinach, and sweet potatoes, because potassium helps counteract the negative effects that sodium can have on blood pressure. 

2. Get regular exercise

Regular physical activity is one of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure without medication. That’s because exercise promotes better circulation, improves heart function, and reduces the stiffness of your blood vessels, which collectively help to decrease pressure inside your arteries.

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. Consider trying activities like brisk walking, swimming, cycling, and strength training, and remember to talk to us before starting a new exercise program.

3. Maintain a healthy weight

Excess weight puts added strain on your heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of hypertension and related complications. Losing even a small amount of weight can make a significant difference in your blood pressure levels.

By adopting a balanced diet and incorporating regular exercise into your routine, you can achieve and maintain a healthy weight and reduce the burden on your cardiovascular system.

4. Limit alcohol consumption

While moderate alcohol consumption may have some cardiovascular benefits, excessive drinking can raise your blood pressure and damage your heart over time.

If you have hypertension or you’re at risk of developing it, consider reducing or eliminating alcohol altogether. If you continue drinking alcohol, we recommend limiting alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

5. Manage stress

Chronic stress can contribute to hypertension by triggering your body's "fight or flight" response. Incorporating stress-reduction techniques and prioritizing self-care can help lower stress levels and promote better cardiovascular health. Consider adding activities like deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature into your daily routine.

6. Get plenty of sleep

Insufficient sleep can contribute to hypertension and other cardiovascular problems. If you’re not getting enough restful sleep, making changes to your sleep habits can positively impact your blood pressure.

Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to allow your body to rest and recover. Establish a regular sleep schedule, follow a relaxing bedtime routine, and create a comfortable sleep environment free of distractions (including electronics).

7. Quit smoking

If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your heart health. You might already know that smoking damages your lungs, but it also damages your blood vessels, which elevates your blood pressure and increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Talk to our team about smoking cessation and other resources to help you kick the habit for good. Not only will quitting smoking lower your blood pressure, but it will also improve your overall health and quality of life.

Looking for more ways to prioritize your heart health this May? Small changes can add up to significant improvements in your cardiovascular health, and we’re here to help. Schedule a consultation at AssociatesMD online or call one of our offices to get started.