Monitoring your blood pressure? Here’s how this simple act can help you take charge of your health
- 2 Minutes Read
Did you know that 1 in 3 Americans with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it? With regular blood pressure monitoring, you can see how diet and lifestyle can make a difference in your numbers.
High blood pressure means the force against your blood vessels is too high, creating strain on your heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage. Since high blood pressure usually has no symptoms, monitoring is the only way you will know you have it.
Blood pressure tells you the force of blood against your artery walls when your heart is beating (systolic) and resting (diastolic).
These are the ranges from the American Heart Association:
|Less than 120
|Less than 80
|Elevated Blood Pressure
|Less than 80
|High Blood Pressure
|130 or higher
|80 or higher
Note: Only your health provider can diagnose high blood pressure. Please consult your healthcare provider for your specific targets and treatment recommendations.
Excess sodium in your diet can pull more fluid into the bloodstream, increasing the pressure on the blood vessel walls. The American Heart Association suggests no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) daily, noting that no more than 1,500 mg per day is ideal for most adults, especially those with high blood pressure.
DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” This well-researched heart-healthy eating plan is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds. In addition, these foods contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which can help relax blood vessels.
Excess alcohol can raise blood pressure and make weight management more difficult. MyNetDiary makes it easy to track your alcohol intake.
Losing even a few pounds can make a difference if you are overweight. MyNetDiary can help you set your goals and support you along the way.
A stronger heart is better at pumping blood. So aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
Stress can cause your blood vessels to constrict and your heart rate to increase. However, the link between stress and chronic high blood pressure is unclear. Regardless, developing healthy ways to respond to stress can benefit you in many ways.
Quitting smoking will help lower blood pressure and benefit your health in many other ways. Note: Nicotine found in other forms, including e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and nicotine gum, can also increase blood pressure.
Some people may require medication to manage their blood pressure if they cannot reach their goals solely with lifestyle changes.
If a blood pressure check at a clinic is too far into the future, monitoring your blood pressure at home is an option. You can find a fairly inexpensive home electronic monitor in most drugstores. For accurate blood pressure readings, rest for 5 minutes before monitoring and remain still during the measurement. See these additional tips from the American Heart Association.
MyNetDiary makes it easy to keep a close eye on your blood pressure so you can learn how your efforts are paying off. You can also record other important factors, such as sodium intake, weight, and medication.
If your blood pressure monitor syncs with Apple Health or Google Fit, you can import your values into MyNetDiary. You can also manually enter these values. You can assign labels and set goals for your blood pressure.
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