Health Basics: How to Maintain a Safe Blood Pressure

There’s nothing more empowering than being in control of your health. Ensuring that you’re doing everything you can to keep your body well goes a long way towards helping you avoid serious diseases and conditions down the road. This is especially true when it comes to blood pressure. Allowing blood pressure to get too high can lead to complications like heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease, to name just a few. That’s why it’s so important to keep yours in the healthy zone.

The first step is to know your current blood pressure. You can get yours taken during a routine doctor’s visit or do an at-home test in between appointments. Here’s how often you should find out your numbers:

  • If your blood pressure is normal (readings are less than 120/80), it is suggested you get readings every two years (more often if your physician suggests it).
  • If blood pressure is borderline high (120 to 139/80 to 89), yearly readings are recommended.
  • If you have high blood pressure (more than 140/90), consult with a doctor as more frequent readings may be necessary.

Now that you know your number, you can tell if you should try to reduce your blood pressure or not. If yours is above the normal zone, there are certain things you can do:

  • Live a healthy lifestyle: Regular physical activity, keeping your weight in a healthy range and maintaining a nutritious diet can all have a huge impact on your blood pressure.
  • Stop smoking: According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking cigarettes increases one’s risks for developing high blood pressure. In fact, smoking a single cigarette can temporarily increase your blood pressure.
  • Eliminate extra stress: When you are constantly stressed out, your blood pressure stays elevated. Relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga and music or art therapy are great ways to get one’s stress levels and blood pressure in check.

For more information about maintaining healthy blood pressure, visit these blogs:

Photo credit: Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office

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