When you learn you have high blood pressure, you may worry about your long-term health as well as your day-to-day life. But you can take charge of your blood pressure with lifestyle changes and medication and live a normal life.

High blood pressure is often referred to as “the silent killer” because it usually doesn’t cause any symptoms. In fact, when your doctor tells you that you have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension or HBP), you may be shocked and worried.

Even though high blood pressure is a chronic condition that needs chronic care, that doesn’t mean you have to live a limited life or worry about curtailing your activities. Making the changes you need to manage your disease can improve your overall health too.

Tiffany Jarrett, MD, and our expert team of medical providers at Monarch Health Services, Inc., in West Palm Beach, Florida, are committed to your heart health. We support you with lifestyle changes and offer medications when needed to keep your high blood pressure under control. Here’s how to have a healthy lifestyle even with high blood pressure.

Lose those extra pounds

When you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, the first step you can take to reduce pressure on your heart is to lose any extra weight. If you’re overweight or obese, those excess pounds affect every aspect of your health.

Adipose tissue (i.e., fat) changes your metabolism and even your hormones. You’re more likely to produce excess estrogen and not enough testosterone, which makes it difficult to build muscle and easy to gain fat. We give you customized dietary and exercise advice you need to make changes that work with your lifestyle.

Quit habits that stress your heart

Your heart is affected by everything you eat, drink, and do. Exercise, for instance, floods your system with oxygen that nourishes your heart and other organs. Other habits have just the opposite effect, which is why you should quit:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Using recreational drugs

Similarly, you should try and limit your intake of foods that are not heart-healthy, such as:

  • Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
  • Trans fats
  • Processed meats
  • Processed or junk foods
  • Salt and other forms of sodium

Let us know if you struggle with addiction or dependency so we can refer you to specialized cessation programs for guidance and support.

Indulge in greens

If you have high blood pressure, healthy eating is more important than ever. One way to make the lifestyle changes you need to protect your heart is to add nutrient-dense foods that feed your cells and organs, including:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Steamed veggies
  • Low-glycemic fruits such as berries and citrus
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and other legumes

The easiest way to develop your new healthy eating habits is by following the heart-healthy “My Plate” plan. With My Plate, you fill your plate with 40% vegetables, 30% grains, 20% protein, and 10% fruits.

Breathe and relax

Breathing exercises, meditation, and prayer relax your body. When you’re relaxed, your blood vessels dilate so that more blood and oxygen feed and nourish your organs.

Mindful relaxation is just as important as exercise. Your body needs to have times when it’s stressed healthily by activity, but it also needs time to recover and rebuild. You can download apps that help you meditate and be more mindful every day.

Find fun activities

If the word “exercise” sends shivers down your spine, find new ways to approach movement. Even taking daily walks through nature can make your body and heart healthier and soothe your mind, too. Try new and varied activities throughout your week, such as:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Dancing
  • Gym classes
  • Weight lifting

If you haven’t exercised in a while, let us know. We can customize a fitness plan based on your current level of fitness, which gradually and enjoyably lets you add more and more fun activities to your life.

Keep track

Ignoring your high blood pressure won’t make it go away. Instead, be curious about your blood pressure and measure it daily so that you can see for yourself the effect that lifestyle changes and medication have on your numbers.

Blood pressure is measured with two numbers, with the first representing systolic pressure (when your heart beats) and the second representing diastolic pressure (when your heart rests). Here’s what your blood pressure readings mean:

  • Normal: less than 120/less than 80
  • Elevated: 120-129/less than 80
  • High Blood Pressure, stage 1: 130-139/80-90
  • High Blood Pressure, stage 2: 140+/90+
  • Hypertensive crisis: 180+/120+

If you’re in hypertensive crisis, call us immediately or head to the nearest emergency room.

Take your medicine

Of course, if we prescribe medication to control your high blood pressure, be sure to take it as prescribed. The medication can save your life.

Having high blood pressure doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy every day fully. Contact us today by phone or online to learn about how we can help you keep your high blood pressure under control.

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