High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a precursor to heart disease. It can lead to heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, stroke or premature death if not controlled. Approximately only 25% of Americans diagnosed with high blood pressure actually have their blood pressure under control. Medication can improve blood pressure. There are also other tips for lowering blood pressure that can be easily practiced.

Exercise is one way of counteracting the detrimental effects of high blood pressure. Vigorous exercise stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which is a substance that keeps the blood vessels open. In the long run, this helps in lowering blood pressure. It is recommended that 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 times weekly will greatly aid in managing blood pressure and reducing excess weight.

It goes without saying that you are what you eat. Aside from getting enough exercise, the biggest change you can make is your diet. This goes a long way in preventing high blood pressure and lowering blood pressure that is already elevated. First, stop reaching for that salt shaker! Avoid processed food as far as possible. Increase consumption of fresh vegetables, fruits and grains. The goal is to eat foods low in fat and high in fiber and minerals while cutting down on red meats, sugar and salt.

If you want to live a healthy life free of hypertension and its complications, quitting smoking and heavy drinking is the way to go. Heavy drinking contributes to high blood pressure because alcohol actually impedes blood flow to and from the heart. Reducing alcohol has a direct effect of reducing an elevated blood pressure. Smoking actually causes your blood vessels to constrict, which also leads to increased blood pressure. It may be difficult to quit smoking, but those who do live healthier lives and have a lower risk of developing cancer!

Making small changes can gradually add up to a healthier you, so there’s no excuse not to stub out that cigarette today.

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