Have you recently been diagnosed with High Blood Pressure (HBP or Hypertension)? If so, there’s a high chance that you were either prescribed medication to help lower your blood pressure or it was suggested. Whether you’re currently on HBP medication or just have blood pressure numbers that are higher than they should be, you have options outside the realm of medications. Blood pressure medication is not a cure for high blood pressure, since it does not treat the underlying cause of your high blood pressure.
A functional medicine approach looks for the root cause of the problem and then treats it using holistic therapies, lifestyle changes, and in some cases in conjunction with medication.
Continue reading to learn more about five of the lifestyle changes that are necessary if you want to take back control of your health and if you’re looking to get off of your medication*.
Understanding High Blood Pressure
Before we start looking into ways to manage high blood pressure, let’s take a look wat what high blood pressure is. According to Heart.org, high blood pressure is defined as, “ High blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high.”
High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, vision loss, and sexual dysfunction disorder if left untreated. Known as a “silent killer’, HBP often occurs when one or any combination of the following factors are present:
- Smoking Tobacco
- Consuming Alcohol Daily
- Sleep Apnea
- Being Overweight or Obese
Once a person is diagnosed with HBP, it is something he or she will need to manage for the rest of their life. However, creating a lifestyle that supports healthy blood pressure is key to making sure that you live a long and healthy life.
5 Lifestyle Changes To Manage Blood Pressure
Make Your Plate Colorful
No matter if you’re eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack you should aim to make your plate as colorful as possible. The more color on your plate means that you’ll have a higher chance of eating more nutritious foods. Before changing your diet, discuss your current diet with your direct primary care provider in Oak Brook, IL. Our providers will help you to set achievable goals while remaining true to your preferences and taking into account any food sensitivities or allergies that you may have.
Moving your body daily is proven to lower blood pressure. Additionally, adding weight lifting to any workout routine will help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Aim to move for thirty minutes a day, three days a week if you’re just starting up and adding more time and days as you feel ready.
Manage Your Stress
Since one of the factors of high blood pressure is chronic stress, managing your stress in healthy ways can help to reduce your blood pressure. If you are unsure of where stress is coming from in your life, take some time to reflect and then identify all the areas of your life that could be causing your stress. For example, do you have a high-stress job? Do you need more help around your home? More help with the kids?
You get the idea. Once you’ve identified your main stressors look for ways to either eliminate the stressor or reduce it. This could look like asking your partner for help with your children or creating better routines at home so that overwhelm doesn’t happen. It could even look like finding a less stressful job. Whatever you choose to do, remember the point is to reduce your stress, not increase it.
Removing all stress is pretty much impossible to do, so another tactic of stress management is finding healthier ways to deal with your stress, such as exercise, journaling, meditation, yoga, exploring interests and hobbies, talking to a friend, etc.
If you are a smoker, we are here to help. Smoking causes high blood pressure and severely increases your risk of cancer and heart disease. Quitting smoking is one of the fastest ways to improve your overall health. Contact our family care center in Oak Brook, IL to learn more about how we can help you in your journey to stop smoking for good.
Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late
Not to be all gloom and doom, but the longer you avoid going to see your family physician regularly the higher chance you have of something being wrong, especially if your lifestyle is not in alignment with your wellness goals. Instead of waiting to find out if you do have high blood pressure, make and keep your regular appointment with your healthcare provider. Routine visits can help to monitor any current issues you may be experiencing as well as prevent additional complications from happening.
Living with high blood pressure doesn’t need to be scary. At Vitality Family Health, we believe that knowledge is power and we want to empower you to rediscover your health and make choices that will benefit you for years to come. If you are concerned about your blood pressure numbers or would like to learn more about a holistic approach for treating high blood pressure, please contact us today.
*Do not stop taking high blood pressure medication without first talking to your doctor.