Have a support system
This is the most important step, which is why it tops the list. Having family and friends who care about your health, people who will hold your hand through your struggle, help keep your blood pressure in check, drive you to the hospital when the need arises, help keep you on a strict diet and exercise program. A support system is a best and most effective way to ensure you maintain discipline.
Develop a monitoring system
Constant trips to the doctor may not be plausible. This is why you may need to develop a monitoring system that helps you evaluate how the changes in lifestyle are helping you maintain your blood pressure. Your doctor will be instrumental in helping you come up with a diet and exercise plan, and he/she can help you develop a monitoring system that you can do daily or less frequently.
Do a stress test
High stress levels are significant contributors to high blood pressure. You will need to do a lot of soul searching to figure what stresses you out, and most importantly, what you can do about it. How you deal with stress is also a major contributing factor. For most people, the reaction to stress is alcohol, smoking or uncontrollable bouts of feeding. These are all contributors to high blood pressure. The idea here is to deal with the root cause, as opposed to dealing with the effects.
What you can do
Avoid triggers-we all have people we can’t stand. Siblings, workmates. The plan is to avoid people who cause stress. Avoid conversations that may lead up to a stressful confrontation, and avoid expecting people to see things from your point of view.
Let conflict resolution be your key focus. If you can do anything to de-escalate a situation, try it. Avoid arguments as much as you can, and try to keep hold of situations that you can control.
Control your drinking
Asking someone to stop drinking altogether is borderline impossible. It is possible however to reduce the amount and frequency. If you’re on blood pressure meds, then the efficacy of these meds will be substantially reduced if you can’t control how much you drink. An occasional beer never hurt anyone, true, but too much of it will actually cause your blood pressure to rise, and it will counter all the steps you took to keep your BP in check.
Reduce your coffee intake
This is a hard one to do. It may seem a bit harsh, but it is necessary. Caffeine actually raises blood pressure. You don’t have to completely quit, just cut back a little. Baby steps.
Here there is no compromise, you will have to quit smoking. The risks here are too great, anything from lung cancer to heart disease, smoking just isn’t worth the price you pay for its complications. Period.
Try a sodium free diet
This is also a step in the right direction. You’ll need to avoid sodium-rich processed foods, avoid adding too much salt. These are probably things you are used to, but you can always try one thing at a time, a gradual process to help you adapt.
Most of these steps sound like drastic life changes, exercising doesn’t. Even walking a mile every day constitutes exercise. Start slow, then ease into it.
Find ways to lose weight
Being overweight is actually the largest contributor to high blood pressure. Try figure out a way to lose that extra bit of poundage. This will go a long way in helping keep your BP in check.
You are what you eat ey? All these processes are for nothing if you don’t change your diet and start eating healthy. This should be the first and most important step you take towards getting your BP into the normal range.
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