Normal blood pressure measurement is less than 120 over 80. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a measurement of 140 over 90 – or more. If you have a blood pressure reading between these two averages, you may have prehypertension.
Here are 5 ways to start lowering your blood pressure:
- Go easy on the salt. ‘South Africans eat more than the daily recommended allowance of salt,’ says Dr Vash Mungal-Singh of the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA. ‘A high salt diet is a leading contributor to high blood pressure.’
- Walk it off. If you have high blood pressure, walking is a good way to get fit. Research shows that walking just 40 minutes a day lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension.
- Skip the wine. Drinking too much alcohol will, over time, raise your blood pressure. A glass of wine at meal times is fine for women, but binge drinking can cause sudden spikes in your blood pressure with just four drinks.
- Stress less. Stress or anxiety can affect your blood pressure for short periods of time, which can have an accumulative effect on your health. A good massage or yoga and deep breathing exercises may help with stress levels.
- Ditch the ciggies. Nicotine in cigarettes can raise your blood pressure for up to an hour after you smoke; smoking throughout the day means you may be keeping your blood pressure constantly raised.
When was the last time you had our blood pressure checked?
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, high blood pressure causes 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes every day in South Africa! Visit your doctor or pharmacy for regular tests – or invest in a home monitor for regular self-testing.