According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one-third of all adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. That’s 75 million people. Yet roughly half of them don’t keep it under control. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled hypertension can cause serious complications, such as:
• Chronic kidney disease
• Eye damage
• Heart attack
• Heart failure
• Peripheral artery disease
• Vascular dementia
If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension and your doctor has prescribed medication — take your meds! However, if you’re not on medication, or you want your doctor to take you off medication, there are solutions.
Control Without Medication
The staff at the Mayo Clinic identified 10 lifestyle changes that help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease without medication.
1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline.
2. Exercise regularly.
3. Eat a healthy diet.
4. Reduce sodium in your diet.
5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
6. Quit smoking.
7. Cut back on caffeine.
8. Reduce your stress.
9. See your doctor regularly.
10. Get support.
We’re all familiar with most, if not all, of these, right? The first seven are common sense. But what about number eight: Reduce your stress? Chronic stress (even occasional stress) is known to contribute to high blood pressure. And according to the list, you can’t relieve your stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking. What to do?
Control What You Can
Lifestyle plays an important role in stress. So, make time every day to relax and indulge in activities you enjoy. Whether it’s reading, solving a puzzle or tending a garden, take at least 20 minutes to pamper yourself.
There are numerous and varied techniques people have developed to calm the spirit. Go online and experiment with a few. From simple deep breathing to yoga; from dancing to tai chi; from communing with nature to prayer — somewhere out there, there’s a free fix for your stress. Go find it, then … RELAX!