Heart disease and stroke take one life every seven minutes in Canada. A key cause of heart disease and stroke is high blood pressure. This is because having high blood pressure causes increased stress on the walls of your blood vessels. Over time, this stress causes these walls to become stretched or damaged which does not allow for as effective circulation of blood throughout the body. This, in turn, creates an increased workload on the circulatory system which can lead to a greater risk of blood clots and, ultimately, heart attack or stroke. The good news is that your lifestyle can have a significant impact on your blood pressure and therefore, by effectively managing these factors, you can help to manage your blood pressure. Here are some important tips that can help with managing your blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke:
- MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BODY WEIGHT: If you are overweight, losing some weight has been shown to help reduce blood pressure. If you are currently at a healthy body weight, maintaining this weight can help manage your blood pressure. Carrying too much weight around your waist puts you at a greater risk of high blood pressure. For men, this risk comes if you have a waist measurement greater than 40 inches. For women, the risk is at a waist measurement greater than 35 inches. However, ask your doctor for what a healthy measurement is for you.
- EXERCISE REGULARLY: Regular physical activity can lower your blood pressure. It’s important to be consistent with your exercise. Most experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise each week. Speak to your doctor before beginning any sort of exercise program.
- LIMIT SODIUM CONSUMPTION: Most Canadians eat more sodium than is healthy. Even a small reduction in sodium can help lower your blood pressure. Read labels on all foods that you buy and try to cook at home as often as possible, rather than eating take out or food from restaurants. Processed food and prepared food often contains very high amounts of sodium.
- REDUCE YOUR STRESS LEVEL: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Find healthy ways to manage your stress and take time each day to relax and take time for yourself.
If you’re struggling with high blood pressure and need help with making key lifestyle changes, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.