High blood pressure is twice as likely to affect a person with diabetes than a person without diabetes. In fact, as many as 2 in 3 people who suffer from diabetes report having high blood pressure or are advised to take high blood pressure medications. Not only do these conditions work together, but they also cause a significant increase in one’s risk of heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease. This is why it is so important to us at HHM Health to help our patients take preventative measures to treat or prevent high blood pressure. Here are HHM’s top tips for managing and preventing high blood pressure and diabetes:
- Keep a Healthy Weight
People who have been diagnosed with or fall into the categories of being overweight or obese are at higher risk for health issues, including diabetes and high blood pressure. By trying to maintain a healthy weight, you can lower your risk for health problems and make it less likely that you will get heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, losing as little as 5 to 10 pounds can help lower high blood pressure, and patients also tend to be happier after losing that weight.
- Reduce Salt Intake
Salt can cause your body to hold on to extra fluid, causing bloating and high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends that adults consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day to help lower blood pressure and, thus, lower their risk of heart disease. By checking the sodium content on nutrition labels, you can easily track your salt intake when you cook at home and know what goes into your food. The tricky part of tracking sodium intake is that 70% of the sodium we eat comes from packaged and restaurant-prepared foods, so by eating fresh food and preparing meals at home, you can significantly lower your daily sodium intake.
- Keep Active
Exercising regularly is an easy way to lower blood pressure, improve diabetes, and lose weight. Exercise also improves one’s overall well-being and health, both mentally and physically. The British Journal of Sports Medicine says that when people want to lower their blood pressure, exercise works just as well as medicine. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise weekly, which is only 20 to 30 minutes a day of walking, biking, or swimming.
- Reduce Alcohol Intake
The consumption of alcohol can cause a spike in your blood pressure, especially if you drink a lot of it over time. Reducing alcohol intake significantly lowers blood pressure in those who drink regularly. The American Heart Association recommends men have no more than two drinks per day, and women have no more than one drink per day. A drink is defined as 12 oz of beer, 4 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of spirits over 80-proof, or 1 oz of 100-proof spirits.
- Stop Smoking and Avoid Secondhand Smoke
Nicotine and tobacco products are two of the main causes of high blood pressure, and the continued use of these products can lead to several health problems. Therefore, cutting down on or quitting smoking and inhaling less secondhand smoke is one of the best ways to keep your blood pressure down and your heart healthy. There are plenty of resources to help you quit, and for more information on those resources, contact HHM Health or your primary healthcare provider today!
HHM Health is a non-profit community health center that provides caring, high-quality medical care that is easy to get to. We provide services to the Dallas, Texas, area, which also happens to be the country’s most uninsured county. We welcome you to contact our center if you live in the Dallas neighborhood and need our services.