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Take these steps to lower your blood pressure naturally

It is normal to have a short-term spike in your blood pressure when you are exercising or become anxious. However, if your blood pressure remains high for long periods of time, it can lead to serious heart disease or stroke.

The American Heart Association describes normal blood pressure with the first number at 120 or less and the second number at 80 or less. High blood pressure or hypertension usually means a reading over  140/90 while a reading above 180/120 is considered severe. High blood pressure is a major health issue affecting nearly half the adults in the United States. Only one out of four of those adults have been able to get their elevated blood pressure under control. Medications are available to treat hypertension but there are also some other ways to address this condition. If you are struggling with high blood pressure, consider looking closely at your diet and lifestyle.

Rethink your diet

Diet plays a big part in your total health, including your blood pressure. Losing a few pounds is one of the most effective ways to reduce elevated blood pressure. Even a loss of as little as 10 pounds can make a big difference. Fad diets are not effective for keeping the weight off long term. A better plan is to purposely change the way you eat. Look for ways to limit the things that can elevate blood pressure. For some people, salt is the culprit. Try reducing the salt in foods you eat to see if it helps.

Another item to watch is added sugar and refined carbs. Soda is a common source of added sugar, so try reducing or eliminating it from your diet. White flour and processed foods also add a lot of carbs, which can contribute to high blood pressure, so work on reducing them.

There are foods that you can add to your meals that can help with high blood pressure. For example, potassium is a mineral that helps your body get rid of sodium and eases pressure on your blood vessels. Tomatoes, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, melons and bananas are all great sources for potassium, so start adding them to your meals. Berries are another great addition to your diet because they are sources of polyphenols, which are good for lowering blood pressure.

Perhaps the best way to improve your diet is to become a food detective. If you don’t know what you are eating, you lose control. Learn to read labels and be on the lookout for sugar and salt. Many Americans consume about three times the recommended daily amount of salt without being aware of it. The American Heart Association cautions everyone to be on the lookout for the “salty six” that hide high amounts of sodium. These suspects include breads and rolls, cold cuts, pizza, poultry, soup and sandwiches. Fast food can also add unhealthy amounts of sugar, salt and carbs to your diet without you realizing it. When possible, try fixing your own meals so you know what you are eating.

Rethink your lifestyle

The word exercise may bring back memories of jumping jacks in junior high school but exercise is not solely defined by calisthenics. Exercise is just getting up and moving for at least 30 minutes five or more times a week. Going for a walk with a friend, taking a bike ride or gardening can all be considered exercise. Regular exercise makes your heart stronger. When the heart is stronger, it can do a better job of pumping blood. When it does a better job of pumping blood, it lowers the blood pressure in your arteries. Start with a 10 minute walk once a day and then do more every day. The more you exercise, the more control you have over blood pressure.

Another lifestyle factor to consider is stress. Today’s fast paced lifestyle can keep your blood pressure elevated for extended periods of time. It is helpful to figure out what is causing the stress and then look for ways to deal with it. If it is your job, look for ways to delegate some responsibilities. If it is your relationships, take the time to get help resolving issues. Develop some quick stress relievers like taking a minute break away from everyone or practicing deep breathing techniques. Some people find making lists helps them find ways to reorganize life and reduce stress. A short walk outdoors or a five minute  meditation are other ideas that might work. The important thing is to find a way that works for you and to practice it when stress levels are high.

Get back on track

When a medical event like a heart attack or heart surgery does occur, it is more important than ever to get control over your blood pressure with medications, diet and lifestyle changes. Learning to find a new normal in life can be challenging but if you have proper guidance, it can mean having a new lease on life. Instead of hoping you are making the right changes, consider staying in a short-term care facility where there is a team of professionals ready to help.

Whitehall of Deerfield, the area’s premier post-hospital rehabilitation center, offers a comprehensive and holistic cardiac program, making it one of the best options for recovery after a cardiac event. This  program provides one-on-one cardiac rehabilitation, extensive cardiac assessments and monitoring, alternative therapies such as guided relaxation, specialized cardiac diets, in-house electrocardiogram (EKG) and much more — all in a state-of-the-art therapy gym to deliver safe and effective care.

The medical team, which includes a board-certified cardiologist, full-time nurse practitioner and a full-time respiratory therapist, can address your health needs and provide an effective recovery experience.

Whitehall of Deerfield has also consistently received Medicare’s highest rating in Medicare’s five-star rating system of nursing and rehabilitation centers, which means you can be sure of receiving the best care.

This expert care is offered in a setting with a variety of hotel-like amenities that include attentive concierge service, daily delivery of Starbucks coffee and newspaper to your room, fresh baked goods, massage services, salon services, a wide-ranging choice of cuisine to be enjoyed in a beautiful dining room or in the privacy of your room and a complimentary ice cream shop.

For a successful recovery experience, turn to Whitehall of Deerfield for the best level of care. To discover more about the services found at Whitehall of Deerfield, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

300 Waukegan Road Deerfield, IL 60015 | 847.945.4600