Stay Healthy in the New Year: Tips for Keeping Your Blood Pressure in Check

high Blood Pressure, Northern Detroit, Shahbandar Heart Clinic

An estimated 75 million Americans suffer with high blood pressure, and many are unaware of it. Hypertension is called a silent condition because it often has no symptoms. It can quietly damage your body and lead to serious complications, including heart attack or stroke. The best thing you can do is take steps to keep your blood pressure under control. Dr. Shahbandar explains how you can protect your heart and keep your blood pressure in check as you head into the new year.

What is a healthy blood pressure?

Blood pressure refers to the force against your blood vessels when your heart beats and between beats. High blood pressure is when the force against your arteries remains consistently too high, and it’s a major health problem.

A healthy blood pressure is below 120/80. The top number refers to the force against your blood vessel walls when your heart contracts, while the bottom number represents the force between contractions. A consistent reading higher than 120/80 is a red flag that you need to take steps in the right direction to control your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy.

High blood pressure is a common warning sign of coronary artery disease, a condition where your arteries become stiff and inflexible. This causes the pressure against the artery walls to increase, as the heart must work harder to circulate blood throughout the body. If your blood pressure is elevated, making some heart-healthy changes can get it back on track in many cases.

Adopt a heart-healthy diet

Eating for overall health and heart health is a must for adults with elevated blood pressure. Following a dietary pattern low in sodium and saturated fat and rich in nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables will go a long way in getting your blood pressure under control. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is effective at bringing blood pressure numbers down.

The DASH diet favors whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy over processed, high-fat, and high-sugar foods. Talk to Dr. Shahbandar about dietary changes you can make to keep your blood pressure in check. An individualized dietary recommendation depends on your medical history and existing conditions you may have, such as diabetes.

Tip the scale in your favor

Now’s the time to keep that New Year’s resolution to slim down if you’re carrying extra pounds. Being overweight is a major risk factor for high blood pressure and other chronic conditions, including diabetes. Fortunately, weight loss has a powerful impact on blood pressure. Losing just a modest amount of weight – about 10% of your body weight – can reign in high blood pressure. That’s just 18 pounds if your current weight is 180 pounds. Consult with your provider about the best approach to losing weight if your BMI is outside of the healthy range.

Make fitness a priority

Even if your weight is currently within a healthy range, getting plenty of physical activity is vital to not only keeping your blood pressure in a good range, but staying healthy and staving off chronic diseases. You don’t need to become a gym rat either. Starting with something as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day has positive effects on blood pressure. Aim to work your way up to getting 150 minutes of exercise each week, broken into practical segments.

Visit your health provider regularly

High blood pressure rarely has symptoms, especially in the early stages. The only way to know whether you’re keeping your blood pressure within a healthy range is to visit your health provider on a regular basis to have it checked. This is particularly important if you’ve implemented lifestyle and dietary changes, because regular checks can tell you if what you’re doing is working. If you’re on medication, routine visits allow your doctor to adjust your medication as necessary to ensure that your blood pressure remains under control.

 

Don’t be a victim of high blood pressure. Instead, take control and reduce your risk of heart disease. Here at Shahbandar Heart Clinic, we provide the highest quality cardiovascular care to patients throughout the Northern Detroit area. Call one of our offices in Romeo or Rochester Hills to schedule an appointment to get your blood pressure under control, or book online using our convenient web form.

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