The term “blood pressure” refers to the force your blood exerts when it pushes against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it through your body. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a medical condition that results when this pressure rises beyond safe levels and stays elevated over time. About one in three American adults suffers from high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is known as a “silent killer” because it has no symptoms. Even though you can have high blood pressure for years without feeling sick, that doesn’t mean it isn’t damaging your blood vessels, kidneys, heart and other organs. All too often, the first symptom of high blood pressure is a stroke or heart attack.
If your blood pressure is too high, your doctor may prescribe medication to control it and protect your vital organs from damage. Beta blockers like Metoprolol are frequently prescribed to control high blood pressure. You can save money by filling your prescription online. Lifestyle changes can help to make your medication more effective.
As your weight goes up, so does your blood pressure. Losing weight can bring your blood pressure back down — and you don’t even have to lose a lot of weight. Just 10 pounds of weight loss can significantly lower your blood pressure.
Watching your waistline is another effective way to lower your blood pressure. Abdominal fat increases your risk of high blood pressure more than fat on other parts of your body. If you’re a man, keep your waist measurement below 40 inches. If you’re a woman, keep your waist measurement below 35 inches. Asian men should shoot for a waist measurement of less than 36 inches and Asian women should shoot for a waist measurement of less than 32 inches.
Losing weight helps your blood pressure medication work more effectively. If a particular medication is too expensive and you want to lower your dose, talk to your doctor about combining two different classes of prescription blood pressure drugs instead. Other commonly prescribed high blood pressure medications include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, like Captopril (Capoten). Filling your Capoten prescription online could save you more money.
The CDC recommends you get at least 150 minutes, or two and a half hours, of moderate exercise each week. You don’t have to do it all at once; in fact, it’s best if you split your weekly exercise up into workouts of 30 to 60 minutes each on most days of the week. Don’t just do it on the weekends, either — remaining sedentary all week long and then jumping into a sudden bout of intense activity at the weekend could be dangerous.
If you have trouble fitting a 30- to 60-minute workout into your day, break your physical activity up into even smaller chunks. A 10-minute walk three times a day is just as effective as a 30-minute walk once a day. Remember to switch it up, and do both aerobic and strength-training exercises. You can lower your blood pressure by four to nine millimeters of mercury (mmHg) just by exercising most days of the week.
Take It Easy on Alcohol
Drinking more than a moderate amount can raise your blood pressure by several points, and make your blood pressure medication less effective. You shouldn’t have more than one alcoholic drink per day if you’re a woman or a man over 65, or more than two a day if you’re a man under 65. Nor should you binge drink, or drink more than four drinks in a row — binging can cause sudden spikes in blood pressure and a range of other health problems.
If you’re a heavy drinker, don’t try to quit all at once. Quitting suddenly could cause your blood pressure to spike severely for several days. Talk to your doctor about a plan for tapering off.
Skimp on the Caffeine
Doctors don’t fully understand how caffeine affects blood pressure, but drinking a caffeinated beverage can cause temporary blood pressure increases in some people. Check your blood pressure at home in half an hour of drinking a caffeinated beverage you enjoy regularly. If your blood pressure goes up by five to 10 points after drinking, it could mean you need to cut back on caffeine.
Manage Your Stress
Stress and anxiety are well-known for their ability to send your blood pressure through the roof. Figure out what causes your stress and take steps to manage it. Eliminate sources of stress where you can, and find ways to cope with those things you can’t eliminate. Yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises can help. So can getting a message, taking a hot bath, reading a book or doing something you enjoy. If you find you can’t control your stress levels on your own, counseling can help you develop coping skills.
High blood pressure doesn’t cause any symptoms, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be deadly. By taking medication and making lifestyle changes, you can control your high blood pressure and live a longer life.
Rodney Sewell is a highly skilled M.D. that owns his own medical practice in Atlanta, GA. He is well versed in pharmaceutical knowledge and trends. Connect with Rodney on Google+.