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Take control of your High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal.

Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measured consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure or hypertension.

Anyone can have high blood pressure, and there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help take control of your blood pressure.

In all instances of high blood pressure, please see your GP.

Lose those extra kilos – carrying extra weight can decrease your quality of sleep, which in turn can increase your blood pressure. Try to ensure you don’t put on weight around your waist, as this can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.

Exercise regularly – exercising about 30 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. It is important to be consistent, and exercise can help avoid hypertension, or help bring it down if you already have it. Do exercise you enjoy – for example, walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing.

Eat a healthy diet – Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and has little saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. See your doctor for more information.

Cut down on your alcohol intake – Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. By drinking alcohol only in moderation, one drink a day for women, or two a day for men, you can potentially lower your blood pressure. Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

Quit smoking – cigarettes increase your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Giving up smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal and quitting smoking can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health.

Reduce stress – Chronic stress may contribute to high blood pressure, and occasional stress also can contribute to high blood pressure if you react to stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol, or smoking. If you can’t eliminate all your stressors, you can at least cope with them in a healthier way. Make time to relax and to do activities you enjoy.

Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly – Home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your blood pressure, make certain your lifestyle changes are working, and alert you and your doctor to potential health complications. Talk to your doctor about home monitoring before you get started.

Visit your doctor regularly – Regular visits with your doctor are also key to controlling your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is well-controlled, check with your doctor about how often you need to check it.

Get support – Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. They may encourage you to take care of yourself or embark on an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low.