The Importance of Knowing Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is often called the silent killer. Having high blood pressure puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels. Over time this can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack. It can also cause kidney disease, heart disease and dementia.

There are small things you can do to keep your blood pressure in check. 

-Maintain a healthy body weight. Having a BMI that’s too high causes blood pressure levels to rise. Excessive fat around the waist is an indicator of being at greater risk.

-Exercise. Try 3-5 days a week to start for 30 minutes. Your blood pressure will rise upon exertion but will lower when you are at rest. Being consistent with exercise will lower your blood pressure.

-Limit caffeine. It may temporarily raise blood pressure levels.

-Reduce stress. I know that’s easier said than done. Finding an activity you enjoy in your down time can help lower stress & cortisol levels. 

-Quit smoking. Besides increasing blood pressure, smoking causes lung cancer.

-Limit alcohol consumption. Keeping consumption low can actually lower blood pressure. Once you go above the recommended limit, your blood pressure will rise.

-Eat a healthy, low sodium diet full of whole foods including lots of fresh vegetable and fruits.

-Monitor your blood pressure regularly. Once or twice a year at the doctor’s office isn’t enough. You can buy a home blood pressure monitor without much expense and it’s a fast, convenient way to keep tabs on your blood pressure levels.

-Eat dark chocolate! Yes! Dark chocolate is high in plant compounds that help relax blood vessels thereby lowering blood pressure. Have a square of chocolate for an after dinner treat!

-Try yoga or meditation. These activities reduce stress levels which has a direct effect on blood pressure. 

Awareness is half the battle when it comes to blood pressure. Keep regular tabs on it. Failure to do so can be the cause of a failed DOT or MSC physical. If you find that taking the above steps hasn’t lowered your blood pressure to healthy levels, please come in to any of our four convenient locations. Our awesome docs will have you feeling better fast! I & O Medical Centers have got your back.