The Center for Disease Control estimates that one in three American adults has high blood pressure, and that only half of those people have their condition under control. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure can lead to a number of health problems and can even be fatal. Part of what makes hypertension so dangerous is that there can be absolutely no warning signs.
So how can you combat the silent killer? Here are some ways you may be able to reduce your risk of high blood pressure without the aid of medication:
- Get regular exercise. Your heart is a muscle, and like any muscle it needs exercise to stay strong.
- Eat a balanced and healthy diet. What you eat can have a direct effect on your blood pressure. Avoid your intake of unhealthy trans fats, and eat plenty of vegetables.
- Limit the amount of salt in your diet. Sodium and blood pressure don’t mix. Well, they do, but in a bad way. Season your food with spices rather than salt.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts you at a higher risk of hypertension. Healthy diet and exercise are the best way to stay fit.
- Consume caffeine sparingly. Some studies show that nearly 83% of U.S. adults drink coffee. You may have a fondness for the warm rich flavor of coffee, but all that caffeine can take a toll. Limit your coffee intake, try decaf, or switch to tea instead.
- Avoid unnecessary stress. Life comes with stress, but you don’t have to add to it. Try and maintain a positive attitude, and avoid unnecessary stressful situations.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes is terrible for your heart, lungs, and health in general. Cutting out smoking can remove a known contributor to cardiovascular disease.
- Don’t drink excessive amounts of alcohol. A glass of wine with dinner is one thing, but binge drinking is another. According to the Mayo Clinic, small amounts of alcohol can help lower your blood pressure, but large amounts negate the benefits.
Basically, making healthy life choices is a good way to help keep your blood pressure in check. Hypertension isn’t something you want to mess around with. Since high blood pressure doesn’t necessarily exhibit any symptoms, you want to do everything that you can to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
Meeting with your physician consistently can also help you regulate your blood pressure. If you can count the number of years that it’s been since you visited the doctor on two hands, or if you can’t remember the last time you visited the doctor at all, you should schedule an appointment ASAP. An annual checkup will not only help keep an eye on your blood pressure, but it will help make sure that you are in good health in general.