First off, you need to know YOUR blood pressure. Get this done at any pharmacy or grocery store. There are two blood pressure numbers. Your blood pressure should be UNDER 135/ UNDER 85 (s Why is this so important? Hypertension is the MOST common chronic condition treated by family physicians.
What is the risk of high blood pressure? Elevated blood pressure is associated with increased risk of heart failure, stroke, heart attacks, and death. (Did you know that treating high blood pressure decreases these risks?!)
Lifestyle modifications are considered first. Adopt the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet), restrict sodium intake, regular exercise, and moderate weight loss.
What are blood pressure goals? The diastolic number (bottom number of blood pressure reading) should be less than 90. And top number should be less than 150 mm Hg.
What is the DASH diet?
Consume a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains. Limit sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meat.
How much sodium? Consume no more than 2,400 mg of sodium per day. If you reduce sodium to 1500 mg per day or less this may be help blood pressure reduce even further.
How much regular exercise? Three or four 40-minute sessions of moderate to vigorous activity per week is suggested.
Best way to follow your blood pressure is to take your blood pressure twice a week and write it down. The cuffs available at the pharmacy and grocery stores work well. Bring these readings into your physician at your next appointment. This will gauge whether you may benefit from medication.