Half the people suffering from high blood pressure don’t know they have it. Symptoms are hard to spot but, if left untreated, could increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. These ten lifestyle changes can help you lower blood pressure.
Try to work out for at least half an hour a day. How about walking, running, swimming, cycling or dancing?
If your blood pressure is slightly raised, exercise can prevent you from developing full-blown hypertension. Blood pressure is measured in mmHg — mm of mercury. Regular exercise can lower it by up to 9 mmHg.
Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure and even stressing out now and again can contribute by making you eat badly, drink or smoke.
Try to accept things you can’t change and plan how to solve problems you can. Avoid stress triggers and take 15 minutes out of your day to sit quietly and breathe deeply.
The mineral may help lower your blood pressure, as research found people with the highest intakes are a third less likely to have heart attacks or strokes. Nuts, seeds, green leaves and dark chocolate are great sources.
As you get bigger, your blood pressure rises too. Besides, if you are overweight you could suffer from disrupted breathing when you sleep, which is also linked to hypertension.
Check your BMI to make sure you are a healthy weight and watch your waist —men are at risk if their waist measures more than 40 inches and women over 35inches. The good news is losing just 4.5 kg can help.
Cut down on salt
Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day —that’s about one teaspoon. People over 50, diabetics and those with kidney disease are even more sensitive to sodium. Check labels, eat less processed food and taste your food before adding salt.
Get enough sun
Studies have found that exposure to sunshine increases the production of nitric oxide, which dilates the arteries. The Vitamin D sun produces also lowers blood pressure and can reduce the risk of stroke.
Watch your intake of coffee
Caffeine causes a short but dramatic blood pressure spike. You may need to reduce your intake of tea, coffee and soft drinks if you are particularly sensitive to it.
You don’t need a drag
Every cigarette you smoke hikes your blood pressure for many minutes after you stub it out. So lengthen your life by quitting and help your blood pressure return to normal.
Your diet should be rich in fruit, veg and wholegrains, avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol. Writing down what you eat can help shed light on what you are actually putting away. And don’t stop being good when you head out for a meal — opt for healthy choices on restaurant menus.
Drink less booze
Heavy drinking can increase your risk of hypertension and make you put on weight. Do not drink more than 14 units a week. Chugging more than a drink a day for those over 65 could raise blood pressure dramatically. Plus, it reduces the effectiveness of any medication you are taking to counter high blood pressure. But, a tiny amount of alcohol could actually help reduce the risk.