What lifestyle changes can I implement?

Though you cannot do anything about your age or your genes, lifestyle interventions can help you keep your blood pressure lower and reduce your cardiovascular risk.
You can already have a huge influence on reducing your high blood pressure by changing your lifestyle habits.1 The most important changes that you can make are:
Start doing regular physical activity
Doing a regular physical activity is an important part of hypertension management. Of course, you need to define with your doctor the most suitable activity based on your profile. A medical check-up is sometimes mandatory.

Physical activity is very important for your heart and circulatory system. The usual recommendation is 30 minutes of physical activity a day for the leas 5 days a week.2
Try to lose weight
When you are overweight, you are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Therefore, targeting optimal weight is a goal that each hypertensive patient should try to reach. Losing weight complements the action of antihypertensive treatment.

A formula can help you to calculate your recommended weight, which is based on your height. This formula determines body mass index (BMI). You just need to divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height (in metters) squared. An ideal BMI should be between 18.5 and 25 kg/m2
Improve your diet
Good dietary nutritional balance is also a key part of successful high blood presure management. Diet is easy to improve if you follow these 4 main recommendations 1 :
  • Eat at least 5 portions of fruit & vegetables per day (300-400 g)
  • Limit the use of fats and oils (especially animal fats, palm oil)
  • Limit salt consumption
  • Eat more fatty fish, 2-3 times a week (salmon, sardines or mackerel)
Relax
You need to learn how to handle your stress! Stress can from time to time increase your blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, stress can also encourage behaviors that will increase your blood pressure (for exemple, poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking or drinking more alcohol than usual). Relaxing activities such a Yoga or Tai chi, can help you to reduce your stress, and simple tips can help you to manage it in your daily life!
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption
  • Stop smoking
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Regular follow-up

Monitoring your own blood pressure at home is very important and can be part of successful hypertension management.

Regular blood pressure measurement is key to keep your blood pressure under control. Because high blood pressure is usually symptomless and can fluctuate over time, you need to check your blood pressure regularly to ensure your treatment plan is working.

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How do we measure blood pressure?

Most of the time, it is your doctor or a nurse who will measure your blood pressure, for example, during a routine visit. To do so, they will use a sphygmomanometer. It is a pressure-measuring device (manometer) connected to an inflatable cuff that is wrapped around your upper arm. The doctor will inflate the cuff, and you will feel your arm being squeezed quite hard. The air in the cuff is then let out slowly, and you will feel the grip of the cuff lessen. Blood pressure can then be measured with the manometer (in millimeters of mercury [mm Hg]).
Two different sphygmomanometers exist

a manual one

The doctor or nurse inflates the cuff using a hand pump and then uses a stethoscope to listen to your pulse.

a digital one

The cuff inflates and deflates automatically. The pulse is detected by a sensor inside the device.
To get an accurate measurement of your blood pressure when a measurement is taken, you should have rested for at least 5 minutes previously and be seated and silent, i.e., not talking.

How can you protect yourself?

Taking your antihypertensive treatment every day is crucial for controlling your blood pressure and ensuring long-term cardiovascular protection, but it is not always easy to remember to take them. Just like brushing your teeth, taking your antihypertensive treatment can become part of your daily routine. And remember, hypertension is a silent disease: not feeling a difference is not a reason to stop your treatment!
To protect yourself do not forget to take your medication every day !
Here are some tips to help you remember :
  • Put an alarm on your phone
  • Associate it with another habit
  • Check a box after your pill is taken
  • Ask someone to remind you
Please be aware !
Having correct blood pressure values (<130/80 mm Hg) does not mean that you are cured!* It is important to keep taking your treatment as prescribed by your doctor!
*<130/80 mm Hg is normal for patients <65 yo. For patients >65 yo, normal blood pressure is 130-139/70-80 mm Hg.

How can I control my hypertension better?

MyBP Control is a mobile application specially made for helping hypertensive patients like you to live daily with hypertension.

You can:

  • Chart your blood pressure changes with MyBP Diary
  • Control your adherence to your medication through tailored medication reminder;
  • And monitor your progress.
In this way, day by day, MyBP Control helps you to better control your hypertension.
Show references

References

1
2018 ESC/ESH guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension
Developed in consultation with The Global Heart Hub
Developed and approved by experts : Therapeutic aera experts, patient organizations and nutritionists.
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