According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Nearly half of adults in the United States (47%, or 116 million) have hypertension, defined as a systolic blood pressure greater than 130 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 80 mmHg or are taking medication for hypertension." Getting your blood pressure is vital for overall health because hypertension puts you at risk for stroke and heart disease, which are leading causes of death in the U.S. "Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of the most prevalent diseases in the USA. It is important to screen regularly because it causes damage over time," Eric Stahl, MD Non-Invasive Cardiologist at Staten Island University Hospital tells us. He adds, "Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to heart attack, congestive heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, peripheral artery disease, vision loss, and sexual dysfunction." That said there are ways to lower your blood pressure and Dr. Stahl shares his six tips. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Manage Stress and Improve Sleep Quality
Dr. Stahl explains, "Stress and lack of sleep are known to lead to elevated blood pressure, as well as contribute to poor diet and excess alcohol intake. At least six hours of sleep per night is recommended."
Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol Intake
Dr. Stahl reminds us, "Smoking increases blood pressure in the short term and remains the most preventable cause of premature death in the USA. Alcohol also raises blood pressure and should be limited to one drink per day."
"Regular physical activity reduces blood pressure directly, as well as via weight loss and stress reduction," says Dr. Stahl. " At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise is recommended to reduce blood pressure."
Maintain a Healthy Weight
According to Dr. Stahl, "Weight gain and obesity often causes elevated blood pressure. Additionally, obesity increases the risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea, which also increases blood pressure. Even modest weight loss (5-10 pounds) has been shown to reduce blood pressure."
Have a Heart-Healthy Diet that's Low in Salt
Dr. Stahl explains, "Excess salt intake raises blood pressure both in the short term and over time.The American Heart Association recommends to limit intake to 2,300 milligrams per day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults, especially for those with hypertension."
"If the above changes are insufficient, medications are very effective in treating hypertension," Dr. Stahl states. "There are a number of available options so that treatment can be tailored to each patient."