How to Reach Your Blood Pressure Goals
There are things you can do to lower your blood pressure. Make controling your blood pressure your goal.
Following these steps can add years to your life:
Talk with your health care provider about programs, products and medicines that can help you quit smoking. Avoid being around people who are smoking. If you have trouble quitting smoking on your own, consider joining a support group. Ochsner offers programs to help people quit smoking.
Too much salt in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid and raise your blood pressure. Limit your total salt intake in your food to no more than 1500 mg per day. Your health care provider may recommend the D.A.S.H. (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan if you have high blood pressure. The DASH eating plan includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other foods that are heart healthy and low in fat, cholesterol, and salt (sodium).
Men should limit alcohol intake to 2 alcoholic drinks a day. Women should limit alcohol intake to 1 alcoholic drink a day. Examples of 1 alcoholic drink are: a 12-ounce beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor, or 1 ounce of hard liquor (100-proof).
Get To and Keep a Healthy Weight
Too much weight can make your heart work too hard. As weight increases, your blood pressure will likely rise as well. A body mass index (“BMI”) of 25-30 means you are overweight, and above 30 means you are obese. If you are overweight or obese, try to reduce your weight by 5 to 10 percent, as even small amounts of weight can lower your blood pressure.. To lose weight, cut back on calories and try to get more exercise. Eat smaller portions and choose lower-calorie foods. If you are having difficulty losing weight, talk to your health care team for more tips.
Being physically active is good for one’s health, and it’s never too late to get started. Even small amounts of exercise can have powerful effects in lowering your blood pressure as well as reducing your risk for developing hypertension-related problems such as heart attack and stroke. For all adults, some physical activity is better than none. And remember, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Becoming more active can lower your systolic blood pressure (the top number) by an average of 4-9 mmHg, which is as good as some blood pressure medications. Regular exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight, makes your bones and muscles stronger, reduces the risk of falls as well as hip fractures, decreased stress levels and improves your blood sugar.
- Learn more about a membership at Ochsner Fitness Center.
- Click here for types of physical activity and exercises.
- Click here for videos with tips on how to perform aerobic exercises and muscle strengthening exercises properly.
- Click here for more tips on exercising your way to a healthy blood pressure.
Use a Digital Blood Pressure Cuff and Send Data to Electronic Medical Record Automatically
Your blood pressure readings will automatically be recorded in your Ochsner electronic medical record when you use are part of the Hypertension Digital Medicine Program and use a digital blood pressure cuff. In addition, our care team will have your blood pressure readings and be able to make recommendations as to your medication and lifestyle in order to help you in reaching your blood pressure goals.
Take your medicines every day, as prescribed
In addition to lifestyle changes, medication is a very important part of your treatment. Taking your medicine as prescribed and following the treatment program recommended by your care team are important steps in having a healthy blood pressure.