The higher your blood pressure is, the higher your risk of health problems. It puts extra strain on your arteries and on your heart. Over time, this strain can cause the arteries to become to become thicker and less flexible, or weaken.
Thicker arteries will narrow, making them more likely to clog up. If an artery becomes completely clogged up (known as a clot), this can lead to a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease or dementia.
More rarely, if an artery has weakened, the extra strain may eventually lead to the artery bursting. This may also cause a heart attack or stroke.
It’s not all bad though – there are many ways in which you can lower your blood pressure and put less strain on your arteries and heart. For more information, read the following and feel free to contact us if you are concerned about your blood pressure.
Making lifestyle changes to lower high blood pressure
Below we list the five main lifestyle changes you can make that will help to lower your blood pressure. Some of them will lower your blood pressure in a matter of weeks; others will take a longer. The changes are listed below in order of speed of effect:
- Cut down on salt. This means eating more natural foods and fewer processed ones and not adding any extra salt to foods or in anything you cook.
- Increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables you eat each day. Aim to eat at least five portions a day. It’s also best to eat a variety of different fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables contain potassium that counters the effect of salt and helps to lower blood pressure.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. No more than 3-4 units per day for men and no more than 2-3 units per day for women. Drinking more than the recommended limits over a long period will slowly raise your blood pressure.
- Increase your level of activity. Build in 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five times per week. Being active not only gives your heart a good work out, but it also helps your arteries to stay flexible and better able to cope with the demands of daily life.
- Lose weight if you are overweight. We can assist by letting you know your ideal weight. Excess weight puts extra strain on your heart and your arteries.