I get worried when I hear my patients give excuses for their high blood pressure. I hear this one a lot: “I have white-coat hypertension.” Which translates as: “My blood pressure only goes up when I visit my doctor.”
A recent study showed alarming results – that even when your blood pressure goes up just on occasion, it still increases the stress on your blood vessels and can increase your risk for serious consequences – like stroke, heart attack and even kidney failure.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure is very common – three out of every four people over the age of 60 have high blood pressure. And many don’t even know their blood pressure is high – it’s one of those conditions with very few symptoms.
What’s optimal when it comes to blood pressure?
The agreed-upon number for optimal blood pressure has been steadily going down over the past years, and the trend continues.
We used to consider 120/80 to be the optimal blood pressure. Now there are studies showing that we would benefit from our blood pressure being as low as 110/70.
How to Lower Your Blood Pressure
Cut it Out
One of the best ways to avoid high blood pressure is to decrease salt intake. A lot of people have salt-sensitive blood pressure, meaning their blood pressure goes up when they eat a salty meal.
Processed foods like canned soups and prepackaged or frozen foods tend to contain way too much salt. Meals at restaurants, especially fast food items, tend to be high in salt as well. If you get a high blood pressure reading – even now and then – avoid eating these foods.
Anything ending in “ine” – like nicotine and caffeine – will also raise your blood pressure. If you have an elevated blood pressure, remove or reduce the “ines” from your life.
Check it Out
Check your blood pressure regularly. If it’s too high, even just once in a while, take steps to lower your blood pressure to a healthier level. In addition to cutting back on salt and caffeine, make sure you’re eating a healthy diet full of fresh foods, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular sleep and exercise.
Prevention is the best cure. Be your own advocate and start living a healthier, happier life today.