How to Keep Your Blood Pressure at Healthy Levels | PCH.com

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How to Keep Your Blood Pressure at Healthy Levels

September 20th, 2012 Healthy Living

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is vital for your cardiovascular wellbeing. According to Hands on Health South Carolina, people who don't control their high blood pressure are three to four times more likely to develop heart disease and are up to seven times more likely to suffer from a stroke. Lowering your blood pressure doesn't have to be a difficult and daunting task, either. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has outlined a simple plan that can help individuals who are at-risk bring their levels down.

1. Smoking and drinking. Although smoking doesn't directly cause your blood pressure to rise, it can injure your blood vessel walls, causing cause your arteries to harden faster. If you smoke cigarettes, do your best to quit. If you drink alcoholic beverages, try to limit your intake. Not only can excessive drinking raise your blood pressure, you'll also consume plenty of empty calories, which can affect your ability to lose weight.

2. Eat well. Speaking of losing weight, your eating habits can reduce your risk for high pressure. A clinical study known as DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) revealed that diets that emphasized the consumption of fish, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products helped lower elevated blood pressure levels. Try limiting your sodium intake as well.

3. Stay active. As you may have heard in the past, it's important to get at least 30 minutes of moderately-intense exercise a day. If your blood pressure is starting to climb, you may want to start a simple walking regimen immediately. If you've had heart problems in the past, you should consider consulting your doctor before beginning an exercise plan.