November 11, 2021
High blood pressure takes a high toll, affecting nearly every organ in the body. Across America almost half of adults (47%) have high blood pressure, and that number is more than half (56%) for Black adults.
High blood pressure is also known as The Silent Killer, because often there are no symptoms. The only way to know your blood pressure – high, normal or low – is to get it checked.
And if your blood pressure is high, following a few basic guidelines can help you get it under control, possibly even without medication.
Know your numbers and risks
The more you know about your own risk for high blood pressure and your personal and family history, the better you can take steps to stay healthy.
- Normal blood pressure is less than 130/80.
- High blood pressure can lead to serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, heart failure, vision loss and other problems.
Monitor your blood pressure
You can’t manage your blood pressure if you don’t know what it is.
- Keep all your regular doctor’s appointments, even when you feel good.
- Take all medications just as your doctor prescribes.
- Between doctor visits, take advantage of free blood pressure screenings, and see your doctor if your readings are above normal.
Eat healthy foods without too much sodium
Fast food, restaurant meals, processed foods and canned foods all tend to be high in sodium, which can increase blood pressure. To keep your sodium intake in check:
- Choose fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish.Avoid processed, frozen entrees and mixed dishes, which often are high in sodium.
- Read food labels and know your daily sodium intake, which should be below 2,300 mg for most people.
- Choose low-sodium alternatives of food and beverages whenever possible.
- Don’t add salt to prepared food.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can both raise blood pressure.
Your body was built for activity — give it some exercise four or five times a week. If a gym membership or exercise class isn’t your thing, consider simple, free activities:
- Take a walk with friends.
- Choose the stairs instead of the elevator when you can.
- Look for enjoyable exercise routines on YouTube or other free sites.
Watch your weight
If you’re eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, it’s easier to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re having trouble:
- Talk to your doctor about setting a healthy target weight.
- Work with a registered dietitian to create healthy, satisfying meal plans.
- If you need to lose more than just a few pounds, make an appointment with Christiana Care’s Weight Management program, which offers a variety of weight-loss solutions.
If you smoke, quit
Just by quitting smoking, you may be able to lower your blood pressure by 10 points. And it’s one of the best decisions you can make for your overall health.
- Christiana Care offers free one-on-one help to quit smoking.
- Call the Delaware Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
Relax and get enough rest
We are learning more every day that stress plays a part in many diseases and can contribute to high blood pressure. To lower your stress levels:
- Take 15 minutes of quiet time or relaxation for yourself every day.
- Engage in activities such as yoga and deep breathing exercises, which have been proven to reduce stress in the body.
- Get enough sleep at night, and wake feeling well-rested.
If your concerned about your blood pressure make an appointment with a primary care provider at ChristianaCare today by calling 302-320-6800 or schedule an appointment online.