The New Guidelines
The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and nine other health professional organizations worked together release new high blood pressure guidelines. These guidelines were released on November 13, 2017. Previously, guidelines identified high blood pressure as ≥ 140/90 mm Hg. The new guidelines, however, now define high blood pressure as anyone with a systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥ 130 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ≥ 80 mm Hg.
If you have recently found that you have high blood pressure (hypertension) under these new guidelines, you are not alone. There has been an increase in the number of people who now meet the criteria for stage 1 hypertension. However, the good news is the new guidelines were released to help detect high blood pressure earlier and promote healthy lifestyle changes. Read on to learn the best tips for lowering your blood pressure and living a healthy lifestyle!
Tips to Lower Your Blood Pressure
Harvard Health recently updated their outline for lowering your blood pressure. Their goal is to educate everyone that lowering your blood pressure does not require an overwhelming, major life overhaul. There are six simple steps you can start working on today that will help you reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure!
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Losing weight and maintain a healthy weight is the best possible way to help you lower your blood pressure. Dr. Naomi Fisher, director of hypertension service and hypertension innovation at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, explains that you don’t need to embark on an intense, restrictive journey to lose weight. Making healthy lifestyle changes to lose even just 10lbs can drastically improve your blood pressure.
- Reduce Your Sodium Intake: Many Americans today consume three times the daily recommended amount of sodium. Dr. Fisher recommends reading nutrition labels carefully and to be weary of the “salty six;” bread, cold cuts/cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup and sandwiches. Opt to prepare as many of your meals at home as possible!
- Get Moving: Find something you love and stick to thirty minutes of activity five times a week. It can be walking the dog, biking, hiking, gardening, anything that gets you moving!
- Incorporate Weightlifting: Lifting weights improves your ability to maintain a healthy weight and it keeps you fit, both of which can help lower your blood pressure! If weight lifting is new to you, talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise regime and start slow with body weight workouts to build strength.
- Practice Moderation: Alcohol consumption increases your blood pressure, so moderation is key. Harvard Health recommends no more than one alcoholic beverage a day. However, less is even better!
- Manage Stress: Stress hormones constrict your blood vessels and can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure. If stress is not managed, overtime it triggers unhealthy habits and puts your cardiovascular health at risk. Try incorporating meditation or daily breathing exercises to help you relax and lower your stress levels!