Prevention

If you suspect you might have hypertension, seek a medical opinion first. Did you know that you can cut your risk of stroke by up to 40% and heart attack by up to 25% by following your doctor’s advice to reduce hypertension?

Here’s what your doctor may suggest:

  1. Have your blood pressure checked regularly. Hypertension often has no symptoms, so having your blood pressure checked regularly by a healthcare professional is advisable. Your doctor will tell you how often.
  2. Eat a balanced, healthy diet. Of all the influences on your blood pressure, your diet is probably the one you are most in control of. Give your body good fuel to work with, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Reduce your intake of salt (which can contribute to hypertension), and avoid fried and high-in-fat foods. Choose roti over paratha!
     
  3. Be more physically active. Your doctor will recommend the optimal amount of physical
    activity you require. Start with 3 days a week and begin with moderate exercises. Build gradually in duration and intensity. And don’t forget to stretch gently after you’re finished, to cool down, reduce the risk of injury and improve mobility! A healthy long-term goal is simply to be as active as you can each day. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Go for a bike ride. Take the long way home when you’re out walking. Dancing bhangra counts! Every little bit helps.
     
  4. Set aside some time every day to relax. Stress can cause blood pressure to rise in the short term. Deep, steady breathing can do wonders. Breathe in through your nose slowly, counting to ten and extending your stomach as you do so. Exhale slowly through your mouth, counting to ten again. Focus only on your breathing and counting. Do 10-20 repetitions of this. It can have an amazingly calming affect and can lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
  5. Limit your alcohol intake. There is a clear association between how much alcohol you drink and blood pressure. If your blood pressure is high, talk to your doctor about how much alcohol is acceptable for you. If you’re struggling to reduce your alcohol consumption, your doctor can help with that too.

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