When you’re getting your annual physical, the nurse will bring out a device that straps to your bicep. The nurse pumps air into the device, constricting your arm a little, eventually releasing the pressure. Then you’re given a number, something like 120/80.

While you might be unsure what the numbers mean, this test is to gauge your blood pressure. Your top number is your Systolic reading, which represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle contracts. The lower number, the Diastolic reading, measures the pressure in your arteries in between beats. Different readings will result in varying risks of high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” due to its lack of symptoms. The only way to know is if you get checked by a doctor. If high blood pressure goes untreated, there are numerous dangers like damage to the heart and arteries, stroke, kidney damage, erectile dysfunction, memory loss, and more.

If you doctor has diagnosed you with high blood pressure, you likely have been prescribed medication. If you’d like to help lower your blood pressure naturally, there are some things you can do on a daily basis to help lower your blood pressure.

  1. Go for WalksExercise helps your heart use oxygen more efficiently. Just 30 minutes of cardio a day can help lower your blood pressure.
  2. Deep Breaths – Slow, deliberate breaths can help you decrease stress hormones. Five minutes of deep breathing a day can be very helpful.
  3. Lower Your Salt Intake – Decreasing the amount of sodium in your diet will help your blood pressure. This doesn’t just mean stop using your salt shaker at dinner either. Processed foods have a great deal of sodium and this is where most people get the majority of their daily sodium.
  4. Light Alcohol – The less alcohol you drink, the lower your blood pressure will drop. But no alcohol might not be optimal either. Studies show that up to one drink for a woman and up to two drinks a day for man can lower blood pressure and risk of heart disease.
  5. Drink Decaf – Caffeine can increase your blood pressure. When your body is under stress, it pumps more blood, increasing blood pressure. Caffeine exacerbates this effect. Keep your caffeine consumption low.
  6. Eat More Potassium – A potassium rich diet can help lower your blood pressure. Foods like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, kidney beans, and raisins contain rich amounts of potassium.
  7. Work Less – We live in a workaholic society. But that puts us at risk for hypertension. More than 41 hours of work can increase your risk by 15%. More work means less time for physical activity and healthy eating. When you can, try and work less. Your heart will thank you.

High blood pressure isn’t something to overlook. It plays a big role in your heart’s health. To decrease your risk of stroke and heart attack, make sure your blood pressure is under control. Follow these seven steps in your daily life to help combat high blood pressure so you can live a long and healthy life.

Image Courtesy of Lacey Raper

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