Blood pressure woes are a growing problem, affecting more and more Americans every day. Worse yet, because it’s symptomless, you often become aware of your high blood pressure only once you begin experiencing the associated health issues.
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, or even prehypertension, you want to do anything you can to keep those numbers within a healthy range before complications arise.
Even if you’ve spoken to your doctor about blood pressure, there may be some facts that you’re unaware of. You can integrate these tips into your health regime as you aim to obtain healthy blood pressure. Here are five things you need to know when it comes to your blood pressure.
Low sodium is just as bad as high: When it comes to blood pressure, we all know that high sodium (salt) levels are truly the enemy. But did you know that low levels are equally harmful? It’s true.
For example, in heart failure patients, reducing their sodium levels to 1.8 grams a day can actually cause their blood pressure levels to soar. Instead, if you have a heart failure, opt for 2.8 grams and be mindful of food labels – many canned and jarred items are high on the sodium scale.
Get enough potassium: Just like you need proper sodium levels, you also need sufficient potassium levels. Potassium is beneficial as it helps relax artery walls and maintain healthy blood pressure. Incorporate foods high in potassium – like bananas, eggplants, coconut water, and baked potatoes.
Test your blood pressure accurately: Ever noticed that your blood pressure readings at home differ from readings in the doctor’s office? There are many reasons for this, including a condition known as white coat syndrome, where a patient’s blood pressure will actually rise in the presence of a doctor. The position in which your blood pressure is being taken may also contribute to higher blood pressure. If your legs are dangling over an exam table or if you’re talking during the test, your results may be skewed.
For proper readings, feet should be flat on the floor, arm flat on a table, and you should be sitting with back support.
Get readings from both arms: Your doctor, or even yourself, should test both arms, as your blood pressure may vary from arm to arm. Furthermore, the best time of the day to check your blood pressure is one hour after eating breakfast.
Consider other conditions as a cause: There are many reasons for high blood pressure aside from dietary issues. Genetics or other health conditions could be causing your soaring blood pressure, so it’s important that your doctor checks for other underlying causes that may require treatment in order to lower your blood pressure.
By keeping these five factors in mind, you can get a better handle of your blood pressure numbers and maintain overall good health.