High Blood Pressure – Lifestyle Changes to Help Lower Your Blood Pressure
If you are having any symptoms or have any questions, please call 811 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day.
How do tobacco products affect blood pressure?
The nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products causes your blood vessels to constrict and your heart to beat faster, which temporarily raises your blood pressure. If you quit smoking or using other tobacco products, you can significantly lower your risk of heart disease and heart attack, as well as help lower your blood pressure.
What about losing weight and exercising?
If you’re overweight, losing weight usually helps lower blood pressure. Regular exercise is a good way to lose weight. It also seems to lower high blood pressure even if you don’t lose weight.
Is sodium really off limits?
Not everyone is affected by sodium, but sodium can increase blood pressure in some people. Health Canada recommends that people over the age of one year eat between 1000-1500 mg sodium per day. People aged 14 and over should not eat more than 2300 mg sodium per day. A sodium intake above 2300 mg per day is likely to pose a health risk.
Your healthcare provider may tell you to limit your sodium even more.
To lower your sodium intake, don’t add salt to your food. Check food labels for sodium. While some foods, such as potato chips, obviously have a lot of sodium, you may not realize how much sodium is in food like bread, canned vegetables, soups, and cheese. Also be aware that some medicines contain sodium.
Do I need to quit drinking alcohol altogether?
In some people, alcohol causes blood pressure to rise quite a lot. In other people, it doesn’t. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than 2 drinks a day, to a weekly maximum of 10 for women and 3 drinks a day to a weekly maximum of 15 for men. If your blood pressure increases when you drink alcohol, it’s best not to drink any alcohol.
Does stress affect my blood pressure?
Stress may affect blood pressure. To help combat the effects of stress, try relaxation techniques or biofeedback. These things work best when used at least once a day. Ask your family healthcare provider for advice.
How can I know if changing my lifestyle is helping?
One of the best ways is to get a home blood pressure monitor and use it to see whether what you are doing is lowering your blood pressure numbers. Ask your healthcare provider to recommend a monitor.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Nova Scotia Toll free 1-800-423-4432
Prince Edward Island: (902) 892-7441
Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation Website at:
Hypertension Canada at: