Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a serious health concern from which a number of Americans suffer. In order to lower your levels, a doctor may prescribe certain medications. Additionally, there are many different lifestyle changes and at-home remedies you can try to lower your risk of suffering heart attack, stroke or other serious medical conditions.
For starters, you can improve your health and lower your blood pressure by eating right. That means, keeping a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Fats are bad for our health for a number of reasons, including the effects of saturated fats on blood pressure. What you may be surprised to find out is that upping your potassium intake can improve blood pressure levels as well.1
When paired with exercise, eating right can help to maintain a healthy weight. You'll want to complete about 60 minutes of physical activity on a weekly basis, at the very least.2 Before starting any workout regime, talk to your doctor to find out what is safe and healthy for you. If your high blood pressure has lead to other health issues, you may need to stick with a specific routine to ensure your overall well-being.
So, these are the basics you've heard from doctors and family members about maintaining reasonable blood pressure levels. But what else can you do? Certainly, there has to be more. The American Heart Association recommends that you also learn to better manage your stress, quit smoking (if applicable), limit alcohol intake and pay attention to other safety issues, such as medication precautions and hot tub usage.3
These all seem like reasonable requests, but the last two may be a bit confusing. If your health care provider has prescribed medication to help lower blood pressure and improve your heart health, it's important that you remember to take the recommended dosage on a daily basis. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist regarding any interactions the prescription may have with other medications you are taking as well.
Some individuals who have high blood pressure are at risk of experiencing a hypertensive crisis due to hot tub or sauna usage. Don't worry, this isn't the case for everyone with the health concern. However, if your doctor has told you not to partake in moderate exercise, you shouldn't take a dip in a hot tub either. In doing so, vasodilation, when blood vessels open up, can occur. As a result, your blood pressure could spike, causing serious problems.
1 Mayo Clinic, "High blood pressure (hypertension): lifestyle and home remedies" August 3, 2012
2 National Institutes of Health, "How is high blood pressure treated?" August 2, 2012
3 American Heart Association, "If I have HBP, what can I do to take care of myself?" April 4, 2012