More than one-third of American adults have high blood pressure. It’s a common condition that carries serious health risks. Having high blood pressure increases your risk of suffering a stroke or a heart attack, but the good news is that it’s treatable.
At NJ Cardiovascular Institute, Kunal Patel, MD, and our team specialize in heart care and high blood pressure. We take a comprehensive approach to preventing and managing high blood pressure, and treatment often begins with healthy lifestyle changes.
Whether you have high blood pressure now, or you’re hoping to avoid a diagnosis in the future, lifestyle adjustments can do a world of good for your heart. You can improve your heart health and your blood pressure numbers with these tips:
The food you eat directly affects your blood pressure and your heart health. To fight the effects of high blood pressure, eat a nutritious diet that contains fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy.
Avoid foods that are high in sodium and trans fats. That includes processed foods, bakery items, and fast food. Enjoying alcoholic drinks in moderation is generally okay, but keep drinks to one per day for women and two for men.
Smoking cigarettes is one of the leading causes of heart disease, and heart disease is the top cause of death for men and women in the United States. Smoking damages your heart and lungs, and it’s also linked to high blood pressure.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but even if you’ve smoked for years, it’s not too late to quit. Your heart health begins improving as early as a few days after your last cigarette, and keeps improving with time. Kicking the habit helps lower blood pressure too.
Regular exercise can lower your blood pressure naturally over time. To boost your heart health, strive to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days a week. Aerobic exercise includes activities like walking, jogging, biking, and swimming.
Incorporating exercise can lower your blood pressure and enhance your overall health. In fact, one study found that for sedentary older adults, regular aerobic exercise was just as effective as some blood pressure medications.
Being overweight or obese contributes to high blood pressure, but losing extra weight can reduce your blood pressure numbers. Talk to Dr. Patel to find out what your ideal body weight is and whether your weight may be affecting your heart health.
If you’re overweight or obese, you don’t have to participate in a strenuous weight-loss program to see a difference in your health. When you eat a heart-healthy diet and incorporate exercise into your daily routine, you might be surprised to find that extra pounds drop off naturally.
You can take a proactive approach to managing high blood pressure with these healthy lifestyle changes. To learn more about how your lifestyle affects your heart and how our team at NJ Cardiovascular Institute can help, schedule a consultation online or call one of our New Jersey offices for an appointment.