Latina Support Group: High blood pressure (hypertension) is the biggest risk factor. It is called the silent killer because most people who have high blood pressure don’t even know it.
Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Be sure to know your blood pressure and make a point to check it regularly. This can save your life.
Below are some tips on changing your lifestyle in order to control your blood pressure and ultimately reduce your risk of stroke.
Maintain a Healthy Weight:
- Ask your healthcare provider how many calories you should eat a day. Use discipline and stick to that number.
- Ask your healthcare provider what your healthy weight range is. If you are overweight, even losing only 10 pounds can help lower your blood pressure.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat healthy. Limit snacks and sweets.
Choose Heart-Healthy Foods: Reduce High Cholesterol Foods and Eat More Fiber:
- Select low-salt, low-fat foods. Note: limit canned, cured, dried, packaged and fast foods. All of these contain a lot of salt.
- Eat 8-10 servings of vegetables and fruits every day.
- Eat whole-grain pasta, brown rice, and beans—all have healthy fiber.
- Choose lean meats, fish, or chicken.
- Eat 2-3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
- Ask your healthcare provider about the DASH eating plan that helps reduce blood pressure.
Get Up and Get Active:
- Choose activities you enjoy, especially ones you can do with friends or family.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park farther away from building entrances.
- When you can, walk or bike instead of driving.
- Do outdoor activities like raking leaves, gardening or doing household repairs.
- Make a point to be active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days a week.
Manage your Stress:
- Be sure to make time to relax and enjoy life. Find time to laugh!
- Visit with family and friends regularly, and keep up with hobbies.
Limit Alcohol and Quit Smoking:
- Men: Have no more than two drinks per day.
- Women: Have no more than one drink per day.
- Talk with your healthcare provider about quitting smoking. Smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. Ask about local or community programs that can help.
If the lifestyle changes listed above are not enough, your healthcare provider may prescribe high blood pressure medicine. Take all medications as prescribed.