Did you know that one in three adults have hypertension? Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If the pressure remains above the normal range of 120/80 or less it can lead to a greater risk for stroke, heart attack, or other heart damage.
Take action today to lower your blood pressure by following these quick and easy steps:
- Choose low sodium products.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1500 mg of sodium a day. Read the label and look for words such as “unsalted,” “no-salt-added,” “reduced sodium,” “sodium free,” or “low in sodium.” A diet high in fruits and vegetables has been linked to a decreased risk of both hypertension and stroke. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids have positive effects on hypertension and cardiovascular disease by relaxing arteries and thinning the blood.
- Make an appointment with your primary care doctor.
Schedule a physical with your physician to get your blood pressure checked! Don’t have a primary care physician? Try calling your local health system to see if they can connect you with one near you. In Hampton Roads, the Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health Line can give you a physician referral that meets your needs: (757) 889-CARE (2273).
- Reduce your stress through laughter.
Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as “challenges,” thereby making them less stressful and more positive. Laughter connects us with others. Just as with smiling and kindness, most people find that laughter is contagious, so if you bring more laughter into your life you can most likely help others around you to laugh more and realize those benefits as well.
- Exercise regularly.
Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. If your heart can work less to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure. Take a walk for 20 to 30 minutes on at least 3 days of the week. Taking the stairs can be an easy and convenient way to slip some exercise into your day! Increasing your activity will improve your overall sense of well-being as you lower your blood pressure.