Your blood pressure, or the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels, is continuously rising and falling throughout the course of a normal day. Having chronic high blood pressure or hypertension forces your heart to work harder, changing your body and often causing other problems such as heart and kidney disease or stroke. If you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you can have a healthy life by receiving proper treatment including medication and making changes to your lifestyle.
In honor of National High Blood Pressure Education Month, Trilogy would like to share with you some tips for maintaining a healthy blood pressure and lowering your risks for health threats.
Create a healthy diet for everyday consumption - What you are putting into your body has a great effect on the future of your health. By eating foods that are lower in sodium and boosting potassium intake by consuming fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you can slowly lower your blood pressure over time. Reducing your intake of processed foods and reading the labels of packaged foods for low-sodium alternatives can be a good way to begin to make changes to your diet. Find some heart healthy recipes in the Dining Section of our Blog!
Maintain regular exercise activity - Even moderate physical activity can help you keep your weight down and reduce your risk for health problems. Taking walks or enjoying fitness classes can be a good way to begin exercising on a daily basis. We have a number of exercise and wellness opportunities for residents at our campuses. Take a look at some of our Active Aging posts to see what they’re up to in our campuses!
Limit alcohol and tobacco - Drinking too much alcohol and smoking can cause a rise in blood pressure. If you are over the age of 65, one alcoholic drink a day is a good limit to set for yourself. In regards to smoking, each cigarette can temporarily increase blood pressure and damage arteries. Even secondhand smoke can be unhealthy for those at risk, so quitting will not only be beneficial to you but to everyone around you as well.
Keep an eye on your blood pressure levels - Knowing your blood pressure levels can help you monitor the lifestyle changes you are making. Aim for a systolic, or top, number of less than 120 mm Hg and a diastolic, or bottom, number of less than 80 mm Hg. You can measure your blood pressure at your doctor’s office or at your local pharmacy, but if you are higher risk talk to your physician about home devices as your testing might be covered by your insurance plan.
For more resources and information about high blood pressure, check out the American Heart Association’s fact page and learn how to measure your blood pressure as well as calculate your risks.