What to do in high blood pressure?
- Change your life-style, set up your own priorities with health occupying the top position, of course.
- Decrease the psychic stress – reduce the excessive number of activities, avoid the time shortage, always have a time reserve even in keeping the trivial deadlines (e.g. departure of a public bus), do not perform more activities simultaneously, finish the task before starting another one. Increase the support of people that are close to you, feel the support of relatives, friends, colleagues.
- Increase relaxing activities – introduce regular strolls, passive rest and a sufficient quantity of sleep, warm spa and whirlpool, autorelaxing and yogism techniques, non-competitive sports, non-stressful hobby.
- Enrich your weekly schedule with the minimum of 3 x 40 minutes of aerobic activities (fast walk, jogging, swimming, cycling, cross-country skiing) reaching 50-70 % of the maximum pulse rate. If you suffer from a concomitant cardiovascular or other disease, follow the recommendations of the specialist.
- Do not smoke.
- Gradually decrease the content of salt in meals and substitute it by natural plant spices, avoid food and beverages with a high content of salt (smoked meats, tinned and instant meals, some mineral waters).
- Prefer meals with high content of fibres and vitamins (5 pieces or 500 g of fruits daily, raw or stewed vegetables, whole-grain bakery products), substitute the whole milk and dairy products by the low-fat ones (cheese with the content of fat in the solid ingredients lower than 30 %), reduce the intake of animal fats (butter, egg-yolk, red meat and products made of it), increase the intake of fresh fish and fish products. The meals should be stewed, not fried. If you are overweight, reduce the intake of calories and increase the output of energy.
- In case of high alcohol consumption, decrease a daily alcohol intake to the maximum of 0.2-0.3 l of wine or 0.3-0.5 l of bear or 0.04 l of liquors.
- These changes should be introduced gradually, not simultaneously. A key to the success is to focus on 1 or 2 changes. If you reach them and keep them up, then you can concentrate on other changes.
- Measure your blood pressure regularly at the same time in mornings and evenings, calculate the mean values. The aim is to reach the mean values lower than or equal 135/85 mmHg. Use calibrated aneroid, the accuracy of which was verified by comparison with a standard mercury sphygmomanometer (in electronic manometers prefer those with the accuracy verified according to BHS or AAMI protocols).
Author: Ass.prof. Štefan Farský, MD, PhD
Slovak Antihypertensive Ligue, House of Heart, Martin, Slovakia