High blood pressure is a major health problem that affects many people – a lot of which don’t even realize that they have it. Often, people are told that changes in their diet and exercise habits are enough to control blood pressure, without the use of medication. This is especially helpful for people with mild to moderate blood pressure levels.
Reducing your sodium intake is one of the most important factors in reducing your blood pressure level. Those affected with high blood pressure often claim that reducing their sodium intake reduces their blood pressure as well. It is important to learn which foods are high in sodium and limit your intake or avoid them all together.
Eating more fruits and vegetabls and even some grains increases your intake of important vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Studies suggest that people with a diet high in these foods and low in fats can reduce blood pressure in a small, but significant way.
Adding exercise to this change in diet can improve the blood pressure reduction. It helps to prevent and to control hypertension, and it is said that people who are active in exercise have lower death rates than their sedentary counterparts, even when they have the same blood pressure. An added bonus is that studies suggest that exercise not only reduces the risk for cardiovascular and other diseases, but can help prevent obesity, which is another high blood pressure risk factor.
Exercise is said to be the foundation for successful behavioral change programs. Exercise has been shown to make people feel positive about themselves and helps to reduce stress, a factor that not only raises blood pressure, but makes you feel less inclined to stick to the positive plans you’ve set in motion.
Eating well and exercising are the cornerstone to reducing your blood pressure level. However, they are not the only factors to a successful blood pressure reduction. Limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake can make an extreme difference. You should strive to drink these things only in moderation, or not at all. If you smoke, quitting can also make a profound difference. These are not things to be taken lightly. You may find that you cannot simply give these things up. In fact, in order to completely rid yourself of these behaviors can take months, even a year or more in some instances!
Reducing stress is another highly important factor in reducing your blood pressure. This is a lifelong task, but can prove to be one of the most important things you can do for your health. If you find that you have stress that seems out of control, taking a stress management workshop may be in your future.
Though it is said that diet and exercise can reduce the need for blood pressure medication, it is important to discuss any and all lifestyle changes with your doctor, who can instruct you in any reduction of your current medication dosages.