There’s a lot you can do to get your blood pressure down:
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, even a small amount of weight loss (5-10 pounds) can lower your blood pressure.
- Eat less salt (sodium). Salt can raise blood pressure. To reduce the amount of salt in your diet, try salt-free seasonings, herbs, and spices, and opt for low-salt or no-salt snacks. Limit your intake of deli meats and frozen and canned foods.
- Eat a healthy diet. For most people, including plenty of fruits and vegetables in their diet, and choosing lean proteins and healthy fats is recommended. If you have kidney disease, speak to your physician or dietician about whether you need to limit your protein intake or avoid certain foods.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. That’s one drink per day for women, and two per day for men.
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking increases blood pressure and damages blood vessels. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to quit.
- Be physically active. Physical activity can help lower blood pressure. Most people should shoot for 30 minutes of activity a day. If you are not very active, consult your doctor first. Start slowly, and build up the length and intensity over time. Even 5-10 minutes of activity per day can make a difference.
- Manage stress. Stress makes your heart work harder. Talk with your Livongo coach or healthcare provider about ways to lower stress.
- Take medications as prescribed. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about, or issues with, taking your medicine. This includes side effects.
You may not be able to actually feel changes in your blood pressure. But making positive lifestyle changes and sticking with your medications can help you manage it. Getting your numbers down can enhance your quality of life. And it can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and more.