10 Ways to Avoid the Serious Complications of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can have many negative affects on your health, leading to a number of dangerous illnesses including:

• Heart disease
• Stroke
• Heart Attack
• Kidney problems
• Blindness
• Dementia
• Death

High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer”, because many who have it are oblivious to their condition until they experience a heart attack or stroke. Regularly monitoring your blood pressure and making effective lifestyle changes to control hypertension, greatly reduces your risk of developing dangerous health complications, and can even help you avoid, prolong or reduce your need for medication.

The following are 10 ways you can effectively reduce your chances of developing serious complications related to high blood pressure:

1. Loose the extra weight – Did you know blood pressure usually increases with weight gain, and decreasing your weight by 10 pounds can help you lower blood pressure? Thus, the more pounds you lose, and the closer you are to your ideal body weight, the better chance you have of keeping your blood pressure in check. In addition, a healthy weight loss plan also improves the overall effectiveness of blood pressure medication

2. Regular exercise – Staying active is a great way to keep in shape and control blood pressure. Engaging in regular exercise (a minimum of 30 – 60 minutes everyday or every other day) will help you decrease your risk of developing hypertension.

3. Improve your diet – Eating healthy by lowering your intake of foods that are high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol and adopting a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grain and low-fat dairy products, can do wonders for improving your blood pressure.

4. Lower your salt intake – A diet rich in sodium can increase your blood pressure. Salt is naturally found in many of the foods and beverages we consume. Therefore, refrain from adding salt to food, limit your intake of processed foods, read the labels of the foods you buy, and eat more fresh foods so you can enjoy the natural flavor.

5. Drink alcohol in moderation – Drinking alcohol in moderation (a single drink – IE a glass of wine or beer per day) has its health benefits. However, regularly drinking beyond moderation is detrimental to your health and blood pressure.

6. Steer clear of tobacco and secondhand smoke – The nicotine in tobacco raises blood pressure by at least 10 mm Hg. Although this is only a temporary increase (lasting up to an hour), if a person is repeatedly exposed to nicotine, blood pressure can remain high constantly.

7. Limit caffeine – Studies have found that regular caffeine drinkers have higher blood pressure compared to non-caffeine drinkers. Therefore, if you can live without it, try cutting caffeine completely out of your diet. If not, dramatically reduce your intake by drinking only one caffeinated beverage daily.

8. Reduce stress – People who suffer from chronic stress are at a high risk of developing hypertension. If you lead a hectic lifestyle you need to take time out of your busy schedule to relax. You can achieve this through breathing exercises, massage, getting proper sleep, venting emotions, thinking positively and having a sense of humor.

9. Visit your doctor regularly – Have a full physical and get your blood pressure checked regularly. If you have hypertension you will probably need to learn how to self-monitor your condition. This will help both you and your doctor find the best treatments for you.

10. Find support – There are many people who suffer from hypertension. Befriending others with the same condition or joining a support group can be excellent treatment. Knowing you are not alone, and realizing that others care about your heath and well being, can help you find the encouragement you need to take better care of yourself.

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