May is National Blood Pressure Month, so now is the best time to start thinking about your own blood pressure and how healthy it is. High blood pressure is a common ailment, with most people suffering from a high blood pressure at some point in their lives, typically the older they get.
The good news is, preventing and even reducing high blood pressure isn’t too difficult – it can be achieved with a few simple lifestyle changes. This should be on high on the priority lists of anyone with high blood pressure, as it can lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease.
Identifying the condition of your blood pressure is also important, as it allows you to gauge how healthy you are and whether you need to make some changes.
Why You Should Always Know Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure greatly increase the risks of developing serious health problems, including a stroke or a heart attack. As there’s little in the way of symptoms, high blood pressure is frequently regarded as a ‘silent killer’ because it can go so long undiagnosed.
Therefore, you should regularly have your blood pressure taken by your doctor. Those that already have a blood pressure should get checked every five years or so, which should be increase further for people aged 50 and above.
Should you feel great and have no concerns about your blood pressure, just aim to have checked during your next physical examination.
Monitoring Your Blood Pressure at Home
Getting a doctor to check your blood pressure is always the best way to get an accurate reading, but you can also monitor it yourself at home. Some doctors will recommend this, especially if they discover your blood pressure is alarmingly high, as it allows you to constantly monitor your high blood pressure and address the issue.
Various factors may increase your blood pressure temporarily, such as smoking, stress, or caffeine, so be sure to be mindful of this. It is also a good idea to check your blood pressure at the same time each day to ensure its accurate.
Manual and digital blood pressure monitors can be easily purchased, and offer step-by-step instructions on how to get an accurate measure of your blood pressure.
Tips for Preventing or Lowering Blood Pressure
Whether you want to lower a high blood pressure or simply want to maintain a healthy level, there are many ways to reduce or prevent high blood pressure.
- Diet – Aim to reduce salt in your diet while increasing fruit and vegetable intake, all while trying to maintain a balanced and healthy diet in general. Salt is a big factor in high blood pressure, so those consuming more daily will have higher blood pressure as a result.
- Alcohol – Regular consumption of alcohol can lead to increased blood pressure over time, so you may want to cut back. Aim to limit yourself to the recommended levels for daily intake of alcohol, as it can also lead to weight gain which will contribute to high blood pressure too.
- Exercise – Frequent exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your blood pressure, as it ensures your heart is constantly working in great condition. Exercise helps with weight loss as well, which can also help lower blood pressure levels.
- Smoking – This habit should be dropped regardless of your blood pressure, as it can greatly increase the chances of a heart attack or stroke, so when combined with high blood pressure you could be at a massive risk.
- Caffeine – Coffee lovers may have to reduce their daily intake, as drinking more than 4 cups of coffee can increase your blood pressure. In fact, most caffeine rich drinks will have this effect, so be sure to cut them out of your diet or drink them less frequently.