Around half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Characterized by too much pressure or force of the blood pushing against the blood vessels, high blood pressure can develop into a long-term condition. This condition is often considered a “silent killer” because symptoms can often go unnoticed until it’s too late. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to complications and serious problems like heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
If you or a loved one are affected by high blood pressure, there are several ways to improve blood pressure. Continue reading to learn more about how to treat high blood pressure, including lifestyle changes and dietary recommendations, as well as medications.
How to Treat High Blood Pressure
Watch your salt intake
Too much salt, or sodium, can pull water into the bloodstream, increasing the volume of blood and causing high blood pressure. Most salt from your diet can come from pre-prepared or packaged foods, and Americans eat about 3,400 milligrams of salt per day on average. Guidelines recommend a daily intake of 2,300 milligrams or less per day. Lower your salt intake and be aware of the amount of sodium in the foods you’re eating to help support a healthy blood pressure. Sodium levels can be found on the nutrition label of packaged foods.
Try the DASH diet
DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a recommended eating plan to help prevent or lower high blood pressure. This diet plan for high blood pressure includes foods high in magnesium and potassium, as well as foods that contain lower amounts of sodium and saturated fats. The DASH diet usually aims for a caloric intake of 2,000 calories per day.
Exercising regularly can help reduce blood pressure. Through regular exercise, you can help boost heart health and improve blood flow, which can help maintain a healthy blood pressure. Obesity and being overweight are also risk factors for cardiovascular disease, so exercise can also help promote a healthy weight. The American Heart Association recommends doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
Stress can activate the sympathetic nervous system, which can release certain hormones that increase blood pressure. You should try to reduce stress as much as possible to keep your blood pressure in check. You might try relaxation techniques like meditation, getting enough sleep every night, and doing activities you enjoy to help reduce stress.
Quit smoking and limit alcohol use
Nicotine in cigarette smoke can cause your blood vessels to narrow and constrict. While the risks of cardiovascular disease may be lower in those who use electronic cigarettes versus regular cigarettes, it’s best to quit smoking and reduce cigarette use as much as possible. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption is linked to high blood pressure. Those who consume three to five alcoholic drinks per day have a 50% higher chance of developing high blood pressure than those who don’t drink as much.
Take prescription medication
If lifestyle and dietary changes are not enough to help lower high blood pressure, prescription medication may be recommended. Depending on your blood pressure levels, your healthcare provider might prescribe an ACE inhibitor, diuretic, or beta-blocker, among other drugs, to help treat high blood pressure. These medications are usually taken on a daily basis to help lower high blood pressure and decrease the risk of complications, like kidney disease.
Many blood pressure medications come in brand and generic forms, and they are often covered by insurance plans. No matter your insurance status, savings options are available. You can try a discount savings card like the one offered by Inside Rx to help lower the cash price of your blood pressure medication.
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High blood pressure is a condition that around half of U.S. adults suffer from. It is often considered a “silent killer” because symptoms can often go unnoticed until it’s too late. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to complications and serious problems like heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. If you or a loved one are affected by high blood pressure, there are several ways to improve blood pressure. Learning how to treat high blood pressure, including lifestyle changes and dietary recommendations, is key to avoiding further complications or serious problems.