High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer”Health
High blood pressure (also known as HBP or hypertension) is often called the “silent killer” because there are typically no obvious symptoms to indicate that something could be wrong. However, if not treated promptly, HBP can be a major risk for heart disease and stroke, which are among the leading causes of death in the United States.
Thankfully, the consequences of high blood pressure can be naturally prevented through early detection and consistent lifestyle improvements. Your blood pressure, for example, can be monitored with regular doctor appointments, as you keep track of your results over time with a digital service like VITALL.
As you work toward adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, here are five things to keep in mind to prevent or manage high blood pressure.
Reduce your stress
2020 has been a stressful year for many, especially with health concerns due to COVID-19 and the global pandemic. This uncertainty can often take a toll on one's mental wellbeing, which also plays a significant role in regulating blood pressure. There’s no silver bullet for eliminating stress, but many small actions that work towards maintaining a positive outlook. For example: talking out your worries with a friend or a professional counselor, or practicing mindful breathing through meditation. You can also add interest to your life by trying a new hobby and looking forward to something new.
Improve your diet
Eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, while avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol where possible, can help lower your blood pressure. In particular, it’s recommended that most North Americans cut back on high-sodium foods. Did you know that about half of Americans with high blood pressure are sodium-sensitive?
Incorporate movement into your day and aim for at least a half-hour of aerobic activity five days a week. This can be as simple as going on a brisk walk or a leisurely bike ride. Better yet, invite a friend along (as long as current health regulations allow you to do so) and catch up while exercising together.
Are you getting enough sleep? Sleep deprivation and insomnia have been linked to a prevalence of hypertension. According to Harvard Health, The National Sleep Foundation recommends the average adult to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. To improve your sleep:
Create a restful environment free of distractions, noise, and lighting; you can use earplugs or an eye mask to help improve your sleep quality.
Avoid screen time for at least two hours before bed; the blue light emitted by television, phones, computers and other electronic devices can trick your brain into thinking it's still daytime and keep your body awake.
Avoid tea, coffee, or energy drinks after lunch. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from relaxing at night.
Quit smoking, reduce alcohol intake
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are two vices to cut back on if you have concerns about high blood pressure. Each time you smoke, the inhalation of nicotine causes a temporary increase in blood pressure. In addition, smoking increases the risk for the buildup of plaque inside the arteries, a process that’s accelerated by high blood pressure. Similarly, with alcohol consumption, the more you drink, the higher your chances are of developing high blood pressure.
When it comes to monitoring blood pressure and other health metrics, there can be a lot to keep track of. Make things easier for yourself by using a service like VITALL. VITALL collects your full medical and device history, electronically syncing your digital devices along with any wellness apps that electronically chart your heart rate, daily steps, fitness activities, and more. Having your health information consolidated in one place means both you and your healthcare professionals can proactively see trends and take steps to improve your overall well being. The earlier you’re aware of habits that detract from your health, the sooner you can make adaptations to get back on track. For more information, visit vitall.com.