In the Black community, high blood pressure (HBP), also known as hypertension, is a common health condition to say the least. In fact, more than 40 percent of African Americans have HBP, according to the American Heart Association. Whether it’s a close relative or friend, if you’re Black, there’s a good chance that you know someone with HBP. Unfortunately, it’s considered the norm, but it doesn’t have to be that way at all.
Higher rates of obesity and diabetes and plain ole genetics put Black Americans at a higher risk for HBP. Not to be taken lightly, HBP that’s left untreated can lead to a stroke.
If you take medication to help control your blood pressure, then, by all means, continue following your doctor’s orders, but perhaps – just perhaps – the best medicine is a new, healthy lifestyle.
The following suggestions can not only lower your blood pressure but reduce your need for medication. Keep reading to find out what they are.
1. Lose weight.
Only do so if you’re overweight or obese. Need some convincing? Essentially, the more weight you lose, the better your blood pressure. Also, if you’re already taking medication(s) to treat your HBP, losing weight will help make those medications more effective.
2. Exercise often.
We all know how chaotic life can be at times, but it’s important to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day or every other day. Exercising regularly can lower your blood pressure by as much as 4-9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
3. Change your diet.
This means avoiding salty foods, including potato chips, French fries, pretzels, lunch meat and pasta sauce. Boosting your potassium intake and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg.
4. Reduce stress.
Don’t neglect yourself. It’s essential to take a little time to relax and unwind by participating in activities that you truly enjoy, whether jogging, power walking, reading, listening to music, or going to the movies.
And whatever it is that seems to trigger stress in your life, figure out a way to eliminate or