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Hypertension- Monitoring

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How to Maintain a Stable Blood Pressure

Dongwan (Nora) Zhu, MS, RD
November 12, 2021

High blood pressure is known as the "silent killer" because it has no symptoms, but it can lead to serious health problems. Over time, high blood pressure can damage your heart, blood vessels, other organs, and it can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. You may have made some lifestyle changes and/or took blood pressure medications to help lower it. Read on to learn several important methods to maintain a stable blood pressure once you get it controlled.

1. Check your blood pressure on a regular basis

Measuring your blood pressure regularly is the key to blood pressure management. Since high blood pressure usually has no obvious symptoms in most people, checking your blood pressure is the only way to know your blood pressure number and alert you if changes need to be made. Once your blood pressure is stable at hypertension stage 1 or below, please continue to check at least 4-5 days a week to have an idea of your blood pressure trend from week to week.    

2. Take your medicine as prescribed  

If your doctor prescribes blood pressure medications for you, please make sure to follow the instruction carefully. Take the medicine as the doctor prescribed and do not stop or change the dosage without consulting your doctor.    

3. Eat a well-balanced diet that's low in sodium  

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein every day is important in managing your blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. Aim for limiting the sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg/day and consider following the DASH diet to see how you can change your diet and improve your blood pressure!

4. Enjoy regular physical activity

The American Heart Association recommends getting 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensively exercise, such as brisk walking and swimming, for health maintenance. You can break up the weekly activity hours the way you like, such as 30 minutes per day for 5 days of the week.  

5. Manage your stress

Stress is a normal part of life. However, too much stress causes a surge of stress hormones in your body, which leads to temporarily increased blood pressure by making the heart beat faster and narrowing blood vessels. You can take control of your stress level through many ways:

  • Find the underlying stressor and take action to manage it.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as exercise, meditation, and journaling. Read this article for more stress-relief exercise ideas.
  • Reduce the stress by adjusting your expectation.

6. Limit alcohol intake

Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. Drink in moderation if you do - no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. A drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.  

While there is no cure for high blood pressure, taking medications as prescribed and making lifestyle changes can enhance the quality of life, maintain blood pressure in a controlled range and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and more. Discuss with your care team about what you would like to improve next!