What to Do When Blood Pressure Is an Issue
By Sandy Schroeder
Maintaining a normal blood pressure is serious business. Seeing your doctor for regular checkups and following instructions for diet, weight and medications are essential, but there may be additional things that you can do.
If you still need to lose a few pounds, and your age is becoming a factor, you may want to take more steps.
Take the Sitting Test
- Do you sit for eight hours each day without breaks?
- Do you sit most of the day but do 30 minutes of walking too?
- Do you sit most of the day, but move each hour, and do 30 minutes of walking?
The American Heart Association followed men and women who were 55 or older and overweight, putting them in those three categories. As expected, the ones who sat a lot, but moved every hour, and did 30 minutes of walking had the best blood pressure numbers.
Make Movement a Priority Every Day
Harvard Health suggests you start with these.
- Walk whenever you can - Walk before breakfast, around the office, at lunch, during afternoon break, and after dinner
- Beat the weather - If you can't get outdoors, walk up and down the stairs, go to an indoor mall, or use a treadmill
- If walking is hard - Keep moving anyway with stationary bikes or foot pedal devices that fit under the desk
Put Your Food to Work for You
Consider the DASH diet with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy and a minimum of saturated fat. Or try the Mediterranean diet with mostly plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and healthy oils such as olive oil. Replace salt with herbs and spices.
Lower Sodium in Your Diet
Try for 1,500 mgs. a day. One level teaspoon has 2,300 mgs. Check food labels and buy low-sodium choices. Eat fewer processed foods.
Your blood pressure goes up after you smoke. When you stop completely, you help your blood pressure return to normal.
Pinpoint and Lower Your Stress
Take a long look at family, finances, work or illness to see where the stress starts. Then work to lower it. At the same time use yoga, tai chi, meditation, hobbies or music to ease the stress.
Do a Caffeine Check
See if caffeine affects your blood pressure. Check blood pressure within 30 minutes of drinking coffee, sodas or tea. If it is up by 5-10 points you may want to limit caffeine.
Hold the Line on Alcohol
One drink a day for women or two for men may lower blood pressure, but more than that can raise blood pressure by several points.
Make the effort to lower blood pressure to lengthen your life and enjoy the journey.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Wellington, Fla.