5 life changes to combat high blood pressure
High blood pressure is among the most common medical conditions affecting American adults today. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 75 million American adults have high blood pressure, or about 1 in 3 adults.
May is National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month, and this initiative aims to educate Americans about the risks of this condition. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, boosts the risks of leading killers such as heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure, reports Prevention magazine.
With Summer just around the corner, this is the perfect time to make lasting changes for your overall health, and FSAstore.com can help you get there! Here are a few ways that you can get your blood pressure numbers to healthy levels.
- Reduce your salt intake
Sodium has a major effect on blood pressure levels, so in addition to setting aside the salt shaker at meals, be vigilant about checking food labels for high sodium levels. According to the American Heart Association, sodium pulls water into your blood vessels, increasing the total volume of blood inside your blood vessels.
With more blood flowing through your blood vessels, blood pressure increases. If your blood pressure numbers have been rising in recent years, cutting out the salt is a step in the right direction!
- Commit to 30 minutes of exercise each day
Exercise is one of the easiest ways to reduce your blood pressure, and Mayo Clinic suggests committing to at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Calisthenics like walking, jogging, cycling or swimming will have the most tangible impact on your numbers, and staying consistent with the practice will help you keep your blood pressure stable. Make sure you stay on track and manage any injuries that come up along the way with FSA-eligible braces and elastic supports.
- Increase your potassium intake
Potassium has the unique ability to balance out the negative effects of salt intake, which has a major impact on your blood pressure numbers. As you formulate a blood pressure-lowering diet, include potassium-rich foods such as bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupes, and dried fruits like prunes and raises, reports Prevention.
- Limit your alcohol consumption
While small amounts of alcohol does have the potential to reduce your blood pressure numbers, anything above the daily recommended amount can have a detrimental effect on your blood pressure numbers. Many studies have found that one drink per day (12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz spirits) can reduce one's risk of heart disease. If you drink make sure it is in moderation.
- Quit Smoking
One of the fastest ways to ease high blood pressure numbers is to kick your cigarette habit! Each cigarette smoked will result in a blood pressure spike that will linger long after you've thrown it in the ashtray, which can lead to long-term damage to your heart over time, reports The Mayo Clinic. Quitting is one of the best choices you can make for managing hypertension and your long-term health. Best of all, smoking deterrents are FSA-eligible!