High blood pressure? Try these simple tips

High blood pressure? Try these simple tips

We are constantly told that it’s important to keep blood pressure at a healthy level, but managing it can be challenging

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three American adults have high blood pressure.This can greatly increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.

What can you do to protect yourself? The American Heart Association (AHA) provides these simple lifestyle changes to help manage blood pressure:

  • Eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain and high-fiber foods, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Limit salt, sugar, and trans and saturated fats.
  • Make exercise a part of your weekly routine. Shoot for 40-minute sessions of vigorous physical activity three to four times per week. Stretching and flexibility exercises and muscle strengthening are also important. Find an activity you enjoy to make it fun!
  • Monitor your weight. Shedding some pounds may be key to lowering your blood pressure. Check out the AHA’s High Blood Pressure Risk Calculator to see how losing weight can help lower your blood pressure.
  • Manage your stress levels. Meditation and yoga are simple methods to calm your mind. Try to set aside 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit quietly, breathe deeply and relax.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol. Alcohol raises blood pressure, so have no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women.
  • If you smoke, try to quit with the help of your health care provider.

“It’s important for patients to be aware of the things that we know can cause blood pressure to elevate,” says Dr. Dory Jarzabkowski, a cardiologist at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill.

Certain cold medicines, painkillers and other over-the-counter (OTC) medications, as well as energy products, can cause blood pressure to rise. OTCs with caffeine, salt or the decongestant pseudoephedrine should be avoided. Also steer clear of NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen).

Always talk to your doctor about any OTCs you may be taking to ensure your safety.

“People taking these types of medications should monitor their blood pressure at home to make certain it is staying within the range recommended by their doctor,” says Dr. Jarzabkowski. “If there is a sharp increase and it’s consistently over 140/90, then you need to speak to your doctor.”

Do you know your risk for heart disease? Take our heart risk assessment here. If you are at high risk, see one of Advocate Heart Institute’s cardiologists within 24 hours.

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One Comment

  1. Interesting. I wouldn’t have known the information about cold medicine and other over-the-counter meds.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.