Understanding and monitoring your blood pressure regularly enables you to better understand your overall health and serves as a key for your health care team to diagnose any health problems early. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure itself usually has no warning signs or symptoms and can sometimes be known as a “silent killer.” If left untreated, high blood pressure can damage your circulatory system and can lead to a heart attack, stroke and other health conditions.
Managing high blood pressure is a multifaceted approach involving a delicate balance of lifestyle modifications and medical interventions. We're here to offer hope that positive changes in diet, physical activity, stress management and other lifestyle changes can significantly contribute to healthy blood pressure control.
“Cardiac problems often present symptoms that are fixable, and I enjoy being able to offer patients solutions to their health care issues to be able to treat them and send them home in a much better condition than how they came into the hospital,” said Andrew McCue, MD, invasive cardiologist at AdventHealth Medical Group Cardiology at Calhoun.
Having a primary care provider and a cardiologist will help guide you on your health journey and help you intervene early to keep you feeling whole.
A Heart-Healthy Diet
Adopting a heart-healthy diet is essential for managing high blood pressure. Lifestyle choices like choosing heart-healthy foods for you and your family make a difference not only to your blood pressure but to your overall health. And we’re here to guide you in making the best decisions. Try the following dietary recommendations:
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can be effective for patients with high blood pressure. Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products; reduce your intake of sodium and saturated fats.
Limit sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day, and ideally aim for 1,500 mg or less. Read food labels, choose low-sodium alternatives and minimize the use of added salt in cooking.
Eat Potassium-Rich Foods
Incorporating potassium-rich foods such as bananas, spinach, sweet potatoes and avocados is excellent for your heart and blood pressure. Potassium helps offset the effects of sodium on blood pressure.
Regular Physical Activity
Regular physical activity plays a significant role in managing high blood pressure. And you can start moving right now. Set down your laptop or phone and take a brisk walk around the block or grab your kids and play a game of tag. Remember that staying active and adding movement to your day is great for your blood pressure, your heart and your longevity.
Try these for better blood pressure and a happy heart:
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. Activities such as brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming or dancing can help lower blood pressure.
Include strength training exercises two or more days per week with simple exercises you can do at home. Focus on major muscle groups, using resistance bands, weights or bodyweight exercises.
Stress Management and Relaxation Techniques
Managing stress is vital for protecting your heart and maintaining optimal blood pressure. By following these stress management techniques, you might find your blood pressure numbers improving and your outlook as well:
Practice mindfulness meditation techniques to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. Simply put, mindfulness meditation is being aware of your surroundings and what is going on inside you.
You can count your breaths as you wash dishes or your steps during your walk. You can repeat a positive phrase coordinated with your breath, such as, "At this moment, I am OK." You'll find yourself more grounded and peaceful with consistent practice. Find quiet moments throughout the day to focus on deep breathing and present-moment awareness.
Get Enough Rest
Rest involves your whole being, not just your body. And sleep is not the same as rest, but an element of quality rest. With complete and regular rest, you’ll restore your health, enhance your performance and achieve an amazing sense of wellness.
So many small — but impactful — bouts of rest can be incorporated into your everyday routine for your heart health and lower blood pressure.
Tai Chi and Stretching
Try tai chi, a peaceful, slow-moving martial art that combines physical movement, stretching and relaxation techniques. Sometimes referred to as "meditation in motion," a tai chi practice can help reduce stress and promote overall wellbeing.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for blood pressure control. Consider the following recommendations:
Balanced Caloric Intake
Eat a balanced diet that aligns with your caloric needs to achieve and maintain a healthy weight for your body. You can connect with a health care professional or registered dietitian for personalized guidance.
Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overeating. You can try tricks such as using smaller plates, measuring food portions and listening to your body's hunger and fullness cues to know when enough is enough.
Expert Cardiology Care and Support from the Heart
If you have concerns about high blood pressure or need expert guidance for its management, our world-class cardiology team at AdventHealth is here to help. Our experienced cardiologists at AdventHealth Medical Group Cardiology at Calhoun offer comprehensive care and compassionate support for your heart health. Invasive cardiologist Spencer Maddox, MD, at AdventHealth Medical Group Cardiology at Calhoun spends time with patients to listen and truly understand symptoms and health challenges, such as hypertension.
“Together, [my patients and I] come up with a plan as to what the next steps are to figure out what we can do to help you feel better and help you feel more like yourself,” said Dr. Maddox.
Newly opened AdventHealth Medical Group Cardiology at Calhoun is located at 109 Hospital Drive, Calhoun, temporarily until their new location opens inside of AdventHealth Gordon’s medical office building on August 21 at 1035 Red Bud Road, Calhoun. The clinic will have its own entrance on the South side of the hospital across the parking lot from AdventHealth Medical Group Pain Medicine at Calhoun with guiding signage.
To schedule an appointment, call Call706-625-6690, or to learn more about our cardiology services, visit GeorgiaHeartExperts.com.