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Hypertension Prevention Tips and Advice

Hypertension Prevention Tips and Advice

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This holds true for lifestyle diseases such as hypertension. Hypertension is not caused by one specific factor but rather many. While hypertension is typically attributed to a person’s lifestyle, there are definitely genetic and environmental factors that come into play. Because there is no “cure” for hypertension, prevention is the best option. In addition, following these tips can also help lower your risk of other diseases.

Is hypertension prevention possible?

Yes, you can prevent hypertension from happening to you. Contrary to popular belief, just because your parents or relatives have hypertension does not mean you are doomed to having it too.

However, a family history of hypertension does increase the likelihood of developing it later on in life. How does one prevent hypertension? The simplest and most effective ways are by watching your diet and doing regular exercise.

Rarely, people can develop certain types of hypertension despite taking all the necessary precautions. Usually, this is due to another illness such as kidney disease, hormone problems, or lupus. In these cases, hypertension may be resolved once the underlying cause is dealt with.

Tips and advice

Heart-smart diet

Before hypertension sets in, you do not need to follow a specific diet. Generally, it is best to include all major food groups, drink plenty of water, and limit your processed and salted food intake. The main source of salt in the diet is the salt contained in packaged and processed foods and in foods from restaurants.

Fried and fatty food such as burgers, fries, and lechon are still okay from time to time but too much and too often can increase your risk of heart disease, including hypertension.

Instead, eat more whole grains, fiber-rich vegetables, and lean meat and fish. For vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, plant-based protein are great substitutes that have little to no fat and cholesterol.

Do cardio every week

importance of fitness motivation

In terms of exercise, opt for cardio and aerobic workouts. While weight training can improve muscle tone and strength, especially if you are after strong arms or a six-pack of abs, cardio has more benefits for the heart and body. In addition, cardio and aerobic exercises burn more calories per minute, which is good news if you are looking to lose weight and body fat.

Running, jump roping, swimming, and dancing are just a few examples of cardio exercises. Not to mention, many types of cardio and aerobic exercises can be done without fancy equipment or a gym membership. In fact, many establishments and local governments have set up community events that encourage citizens to get active, namely fun runs, group Zumba classes, and youth sports workshops and clinics.

The goal is to get your heart pumping at a higher rate and sustain the workout for a set amount of time. The CDC recommends that adults should do moderate-level of physical activity for 150 minutes per week.

Alternatively, you can try doing intense-level exercises for 75 minutes each week. In addition, include some full-body strength training exercises for at least 2 days per week. If you are currently overweight, getting your BMI to fall between 18.5 to 22.9 is ideal.

Benefits of hypertension prevention

While living a life free from blood pressure medications and checks every few hours is a reward in itself, hypertension prevention has more benefits for your health.

Firstly, keeping your blood pressure in the normal range reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Next, medications and frequent check ups can be costly, especially since hypertension requires life-long management.

Preventing hypertension can definitely save you money and may impact your health insurance policy. Lastly, by eating right and staying active, you not only reduce the risk of hypertension but also reduce your risk of diabetes and obesity. In addition, exercise can improve your mental health and acuity, making it a holistic fix for many ailments.

Key takeaways

In summary, hypertension prevention is important to consider even if you are still relatively young. Do not wait until you start experiencing signs and symptoms of it, as hypertension does not go away on its own.

Preventing hypertension is also a great way to improve your overall health and quality of life. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns or questions regarding your blood pressure or heart health.

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Sources

How much physical activity do adults need? https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm Accessed March 29, 2021

Prevent High Blood Pressure https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/prevent.htm Accessed March 29, 2021

Exercise https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/ Accessed March 29, 2021

Prevention and Control of Hypertension: JACC Health Promotion Series https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6481176/ Accessed March 29, 2021

Dietary Approaches to Prevent Hypertension https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4366416/ Accessed March 29, 2021

Comparison of World Health Organization and Asia-Pacific body mass index classifications in COPD patients https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5571887/ Accessed March 29, 2021

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Written by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Jun 18
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