Your doctor told you that your blood pressure is starting to get a little high and that he is planning to prescribe an antihypertensive drug. But before, he would like you to try to make some changes. What changes have a real impact on blood pressure?
These five can lower blood pressure enough to have a beneficial effect that may be enough to avoid, or at least delay, the need to take a medication. It’s important to understand that they involve long-term changes to your lifestyle for their beneficial effect to last in the long run.
In a person who is significantly overweight, weight loss is the change that can have the greatest impact on blood pressure, and overall health. For every kilo lost, it is estimated that the blood pressure drops by about 1 mm Hg.
According to several studies, regular physical activity (e.g. 150 minutes per week or about 30 min most days of the week) can lower blood pressure by 5 to 8 mmHg in people with hypertension and delay or even prevent the development of hypertension in people whose pressure is higher than normal without reaching the threshold of hypertension.
Eat a balanced, low-salt diet
As with exercise, a better diet can help lower the blood pressure of people with hypertension and delay or prevent the onset of the disease in people with slightly elevated pressure. As often as possible, eat home-cooked meals prepared with fresh or minimally processed foods. Preparing your own meals allows you to better control the amount of fat and salt you consume.
Smoking is bad for blood pressure and your overall health. Your pharmacist can help you stop.
Occasional stress can elevate your blood pressure, but the effect dissipates as soon as the stressful situation is over. If you live in a state of permanent stress, your blood pressure can stay elevated for long periods of time which is harmful for your health. It is not always possible to eliminate stressful situations, but we can put in place strategies to mitigate them, for example asking for help or delegating tasks, or learning breathing or relaxation techniques.