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Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference In Your Blood Pressure Numbers

If you find yourself suddenly suffering from an increase in blood pressure (hypertension) under the new guidelines issued by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, you might be wondering what you should do. The guidelines have reduced the definition for high blood pressure , which is now 130/80 from 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) This means that a greater number of people can now be considered of stage I hypertension.

Although you shouldn’t dismiss the change, there’s also no need to worry. “Obviously, nothing happened within a woman’s body or to her health prior to the publication of the recommendations,” states Dr. Naomi Fisher, director of hypertension service and hypertension innovation in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension, and associate medical professor at Harvard Medical School.

This change is a good reason to start taking your blood pressure very seriously. “These guidelines were anticipated for years and are a hugely welcome addition to the list of all experts in hypertension. Although they may appear drastic however when you put the research we’ve learned from large trials into practice, they will help millions of people,” says Dr. Fisher.

Why does hypertension matter?

If you’re in the 130/80 range, reducing your blood pressure could keep you safe from heart attacks as well as stroke, kidney diseases, eye disease as well as cognitive decline. The purpose of these updated guidelines is to motivate people to take their high blood pressure seriously and to do everything you can to lower it, principally through lifestyle modifications. “It is widely known that lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure in the same way that pills can, sometimes greater,” according to the doctor Dr. Fisher.

Making those changes may be difficult. There have been women who been up at dawn determined to eat healthier only to be derailed by a plate of cookies on a table in the office or dinner out with friends.

How lower your blood pressure using small adjustments

It’s not necessary to go through a huge life change to make an impact on your blood pressure. Here are six simple tips for steps you can take to help bring the blood pressure to the normal range.

1. Lose weight

The most efficient way to lower high blood pressure is to shed weight, suggests Fisher. This doesn’t require massive weight reduction to see a difference. As little as 10 pounds can reduce your blood pressure.

2. Read the labels

Americans consume too much sodium from their diets. It can be as much as three times the recommended amount, which is 1500 milligrams (mg) per day for those with high blood pressure, according to Dr. Fisher. It’s not a lot of sodium to get to that 1,500 mg daily limit — 3/4 of a teaspoon salt. It’s only half of sodium in just one Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich. You can avoid high-sodium foods by reading labels with care. “It is very difficult to lower dietary sodium without reading labels, unless you prepare all of your own food,” says Dr. Fisher. Beware in particular of what is known as the American Heart Association has dubbed the “salty six,”” popular foods with significant amounts of sodium might be lurking.

breads and rolls
cold cuts and cured meats

3. Get moving

It’s not difficult to make a difference in your health. Aim for a half-hour at least five days a week. “Make sure you’re doing something you love, or it won’t last,” says Fisher. “For those who dance, it could be dancing or biking or going for a brisk walk with a friend.” Even the everyday things like gardening can aid.

4. Get some iron

“Add an element of weightlifting into your exercise regimen to help lose weight and stay healthy. Women are losing muscle mass gradually as they age, and weightlifting is often overlooked as a element of a fitness routine for women of all ages,” says Fisher.

5. Limit alcohol to 1 drink per day.

Too much, and too often, could raise your blood pressure So, be careful to drink in moderation.

6. Relieve stress with daily meditation or deep breathing exercises

Stress hormones tighten your blood vessels, which can cause temporary spikes for blood pressure. Additionally with time stress can lead to unhealthy behaviors that can put your well-being at risk. These might include overeating or sleeping poorly, as well as drinking alcohol and drugs. All of these are reasons why getting rid of stress should be your top first priority when trying to lower blood pressure.