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If you haven’t checked your blood pressure lately, you should do it now. Almost 30% of Americans have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, but don’t know it.
High blood pressure contributes to 15% of deaths in the US, mainly because it increases your risk of developing heart attacks, strokes and kidney dysfunction. While medication can be very helpful for managing hypertension, these drugs can cause many side effects, including sleeping problems, muscle cramps and dizziness.
Some simple lifestyle changes to reduce your blood pressure can help you to reduce the amount of medication you need, or even avoid it altogether.
1. Drop Excess Weight
The risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you age and as your weight increases. While you can’t change your age, you can aim to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Studies reveal that you can see improvement in your blood pressure levels by losing just 10 pounds.
Even better than checking the number on the scale is paying attention to your waistline measurement. To avoid or improve hypertension, the goal is to keep your waistline below 40 inches if you are a man, and under 35 inches if you are a woman.
Losing weight can also help you breathe better. If you have sleep apnea, which goes hand in hand with high blood pressure, dropping those extra pounds would also be beneficial.