We asked our friends at Wirral Council for some top tips to help maintain a healthy Blood Pressure – which will also help to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including Stroke, Heart attack, Diabetes, Dementia & Kidney Disease.
Thank you to Sharon Fadden, NHS Healthcheck and Public Health Nurse for Wirral Council, for pricing these tips:
- Eat more fruit and vegetables
Fruit & vegetables are the best healthy source of potassium from food, and potassium helps to lower blood pressure.
Try to eat at least five portions of fruit & vegetables a day. Frozen, canned and dried varieties count too.
- Eat less salt
An adult should eat less than 6g of salt a day. 75% of the salt we eat is “hidden” in our foods. Eating too much salt on a regular basis
increases blood pressure.
Always check food labels for salt content & don’t add it to your food.
- Drink alcohol in moderation
Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week and to spread this over three or more days. Drinking alcohol in excess, on a regular basis, increases blood pressure.
It is also best to have a few alcohol free days in a row each week.
- Lose weight if you need to
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will help to reduce your blood pressure.
Obesity can lead to; joint problems, reducing the ability to exercise & Diabetes, which both increase blood pressure, but Diabetes also greatly increases the risk of stroke & heart attack.
- Be active
Aim for half an hour of exercise on five days of the week, and even 10 minutes of brisk walking a day is really beneficial to health & fitness.
Improving fitness makes the cardiovascular system healthier & more efficient, which reduces blood pressure.
The exercise or walking needs to make you breathe faster and warm you up.
- Stop smoking
Stopping smoking or reducing the amount you smoke will reduce your blood pressure & your risk of heart attack or stroke. Smoking narrows blood vessels which increases blood pressure.
- Reduce Stress
Recognise stressors in your life and take steps to avoid or reduce them. Stress and anxiety can increase production of the hormone adrenaline, which increases blood pressure.
Yoga, meditation & breathing exercises can all reduce blood pressure, but always speak to your GP for referral to talking therapies if needed.
Sometimes Hypertension or high blood pressure is hereditary and although following a healthy lifestyle will help to lower blood pressure, some people will also need to take medication, prescribed by their doctor to lower their blood pressure.