4 May 20230 Comments
Nearly half of adults in the U.S. (47%) and 70% of seniors have high blood pressure (defined as a measurement of 130/80 mm HG or higher), which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Older adults are at increased risk for the condition as artery walls naturally stiffen as we age.
“Health conditions such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease or obesity, as well as lifestyle factors, can contribute to high blood pressure,” says Dr. Renu Muttana, nephrologist at White Plains Hospital Physician Associates. The good news is that there are many ways you can help to control your blood pressure.
Regular exercise helps manage blood pressure in several ways, says Dr. Muttana. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per week. Regular exercise helps to lower your blood pressure by strengthening your heart, helping to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and can lower stress levels.
Stress is a commonly-overlooked factor related to high blood pressure, says Dr. Muttana. Stress can elevate hormones that constrict blood vessels, and contribute to a poor diet and weight gain. Reducing stress is unique to each individual, but some tips include:
• Limiting alcohol consumption
• Avoiding or stopping smoking
• Engaging in regular physical activity
• Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga
• Developing positive and supportive connections with family, friends and community groups
• Getting enough sleep at night
• Prioritizing responsibilities
Maintaining a heart-healthy diet can help lower and control your blood pressure, says Dr. Muttana. Limiting food high in salt, saturated or trans fats and sweets and sweetened beverages is recommended. About 70% of sodium consumed is from processed and restaurant foods, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), so a diet high in natural foods is ideal.
A variety of foods, including fruits, seeds and vegetables, can help bring blood pressure down, says Dr. Michael Finkelstein, internal medicine physician at Scarsdale Medical Group. Try cooking salmon for lunch or dinner, adding raw carrots or lentils to a salad or enjoying pumpkin seeds as a snack.
Berries contain antioxidants and may enhance production of nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator, bringing blood pressure down.
Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamins and plant compounds that help lower blood pressure, such as flavonoids. However, some citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, may interfere with blood pressure medications, so consult your physician or pharmacist.
Pumpkin seeds and lentils are rich in fiber as well as magnesium and potassium, both of which relax blood vessels.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, have anti-inflammatory qualities and decrease production of oxylipins, which raise blood pressure through vasoconstriction.
Raw carrots are high in phenolic compounds that help reduce inflammation and relax blood vessels.
Broccoli contains potassium and magnesium as well as vitamin C, an antioxidant that retains nitric oxide, all of which relax blood vessels. Vitamin C also strengthens blood vessels.
Cooked celery has been scientifically linked to lower blood pressure.
Another simple way to lower your blood pressure is getting enough sleep. “During sleep, your heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate all have the chance to come down,” says Dr. Fulvia Milite, Director of the Sleep Center at White Plains Hospital. “Sleep disruption and deprivation take away this window of opportunity to rest and recover. Eventually, blood pressure that doesn’t dip at night may increase during the day, forcing your heart to work harder.” While each individual’s needs are unique, most adults require at least seven hours of sleep per night.
Your physician can help you develop a personalized plan to lower your blood pressure and achieve optimal health.
This article was provided by White Plains Hospital. Call them at 914-849-MyMD to find the right provider for your needs.