How Your Behaviors Affect Your Blood Pressure
Almost 50% of Americans are living with high blood pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension affects almost 50% of the U.S. population, and only 24% of adults have their condition under control. In 2020, more than 670,000 deaths in the United States had hypertension as a primary or contributing cause.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. To be diagnosed with hypertension, your blood pressure reading must be equal to or greater than 130/80 mm Hg.
Blood pressure is defined as the pressure of your blood pushing against your artery walls as the blood is distributed throughout your body. It’s normal for blood pressure to rise at certain times of the day, but you may have hypertension if your levels don’t even out. If your blood pressure is high for a long amount of time consistently, your heart can get damaged and other health problems can develop.
How to manage your blood pressure
Do you have family history of high blood pressure and want to avoid a hypertension diagnosis? Do you want to lower your blood pressure and manage your hypertension? Your daily behaviors can affect your blood pressure. Below are healthy behaviors that can help you manage blood pressure.
Be mindful of alcohol and smoking
Quitting or avoiding smoking will always help your cardiovascular system. If you want to manage your high blood pressure, definitely avoid smoking. Limiting your alcohol consumption will also help keep your levels low.
Stress strains your cardiovascular system greatly. There are many stressors in everyday life, so our BHCs suggest adding moments of joy in your week to combat stress.
Move your body
Making sure that you’re getting at least 30 minutes of intentional physical activity at least 3 times a week, and more if you can, will greatly help your cardiovascular health.
Improve your diet
A balanced, low-sodium diet that provides you with all of the nutrients your body needs will help keep your blood pressure low. A heart-healthy diet includes lean protein, healthy grains, fats and oils, dairy, nuts and seeds, and fruits and vegetables.
BHC Message: Bridget Beachy, PsyD on how to manage your high blood pressure
On top of medication, there are lifestyle changes to manage your blood pressure. Our Behavioral Health Consultants (or BHCs) can help you identify strategies to live a healthier life with lower blood pressure. Here are some of their suggestions!