How To Maintain A Healthy Blood Pressure
High blood pressure affects up to 1 in 3 people worldwide. This advice from the Blood Pressure Association will help you to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Step 1: Know your numbers
High blood pressure has very few symptoms, so it's essential that you stay aware of your blood pressure levels. Blood pressure levels vary from person to person, but as a level, 140/90mmHg is the standard definition of high blood pressure for everyone. All adults should have their levels checked by a medical professional at least once every 5 years. You should have it checked more regularly if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, high blood pressure runs in your family, and as you get older, when the risk of developing high blood pressure increases. Over half of all over 60 year olds suffer from high blood pressure. If you do discover that you have high blood pressure, don't panic. With medical advice, medication and lifestyle changes, it can be lowered and controlled. Watch VideoJug 'How to lower your blood pressure' for help on this.
Step 2: Weight
The more you weigh, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be. Use a Body Mass Index chart to monitor your weight. Try to stick to the right weight for your height to help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Step 3: Exercise
Regular exercise will keep your weight down and keeping fit also keeps your heart fit which means that it can pump blood around your body with greater ease and at a lower pressure. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. Aerobic exercises such as swimming, cycling and brisk walking are good for overall fitness but also try adding anaerobic exercises like sprinting or weightlifting.
Short bursts of great exertion like this build and tone muscles, including the heart. They are not suitable for
people with high blood pressure.
Step 4: Diet
Fruit and vegetables are high in vitamins C & E and potassium, which actively work to keep blood pressure low. Aim to have at least 5 80 gram portions of frozen, raw, canned, or juiced fruit and vegetables each day. Bananas, dried fruit, melons, baked potatoes, avocadoes, squashes and fruit juices are particularly good. It's also a good idea to avoid a heavily fatty diet as weight affects blood pressure.
Step 5: Salt
The Foods Standards Agency recommends people not to eat any more than 5-6 grams of salt a day, yet most people eat more than double this amount. The difficult thing is that salt is not always visible. Certainly you can and should avoid salt as a seasoning - try other flavourings like herbs, spices and lemon, but also be aware that other food has a high salt content, even food that you might not expect like bread, breakfast cereal, ready meals, soups, sauces and meat products like pate, bacon and sausages. Always check food packets for sodium content if you are in any doubt.
Step 6: Alcohol
Don't drink too much - excessive amounts of alcohol increase blood pressure. Men shouldn't drink any more than 3 to 4 units of alcohol per day, and women no more than 2 to 3. 1 unit is equivalent to half a pint of normal strength draught beer, a small glass of wine, or 25ml of a spirit.
Step 7: Further information
You'll find more information about blood pressure here on the VideoJug website, and further information on the BPA website. If you do have concerns about your health, always seek professional help.