High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the pressure of blood flowing through blood vessels is consistently too high. The ideal blood pressure for an individual is below 120/80 mmHg, with systolic blood pressure below 120 and diastolic blood pressure below 80.
Hypertension is diagnosed when a person’s systolic blood pressure readings on two days are 140 mmHg or higher, and diastolic blood pressure readings on both days are 90 mmHg or higher. These lifestyle changes can help lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease.
While medication may be necessary for some individuals with high blood pressure, lifestyle modifications can significantly affect treatment. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can prevent, delay, or reduce medication needs.
To reduce blood pressure by approximately 4 mm Hg, it is advisable for women to consume less than one drink per day and for men to consume less than two drinks per day. It is important to note that one drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
However, excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure by several points and decrease blood pressure medications effectiveness. Therefore, it is recommended to limit alcohol intake and avoid excessive consumption.
2. Reduce Salt Consumption
A slight decrease in sodium consumption in one’s diet can enhance cardiovascular health and lower high blood pressure by approximately 5 to 6 mm Hg. The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure differs from person to person.
Generally, it is recommended to limit sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day or less. However, a lower sodium intake of 1,500 mg daily or less is optimal for most adults.
To decrease sodium in the diet, individuals should read food labels to find low-sodium options, consume fewer processed foods, avoid adding salt, and use herbs or spices to add flavour to food while cooking.
3. Stop Smoking
Elevated blood pressure can be caused by smoking. However, quitting smoking can aid in reducing blood pressure and minimizing the chances of developing heart illnesses while enhancing overall health, which may result in a prolonged lifespan.
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