You probably know someone with high blood pressure or may even have it yourself. Also called hypertension, this condition affects 67 million adults in the U.S. – one in every three American adults. The risk of developing hypertension increases as you age because blood vessels naturally stiffen with age, and high blood pressure can lead to a wide assortment of dangerous problems, including stroke, heart failure and kidney disease. Studies have shown that there’s a correlation between hypertension and hearing loss. That’s why it’s essential to maintain senior activity and a healthy lifestyle to keep your blood pressure levels in check. Follow these wellness tips to reduce your risk of this condition:

Eat healthy
The activities that keep your heart healthy are the same ones that help lower blood pressure. Reducing your intake of sodium by eating less salt is the first step, but there’s more to it than that. Eating a nutritious diet is essential in maintaining your weight, which can reduce your risk of developing hypertension – people who are overweight are more likely to have high blood pressure.

This may seem like a very broad lifestyle choice, but there are some simple changes you can make every day. When you’re shopping at the grocery store, stay away from the prepackaged and processed foods. Rather, stick to the produce section and select a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables. When buying bread, rice and pasta, be sure to choose whole grain varieties, and purchase dairy products that are low fat – getting used to skim milk is easier than most people think. For meats, opt for leaner cuts, such as chicken and fish.

Maintain active senior living
In addition to eating right, brisk physical activity is important for your overall wellness and blood pressure levels. Adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, though you should be sure to discuss your workout regimen with your doctor first. It can be hard to get motivated to exercise, but once you get started, you’ll find yourself feeling more vibrant, energized and agile. If you have arthritis, osteoporosis or another condition that makes it hard to work out, try a gentle activity such as tai chi or yoga. These practices not only help you lose weight and tone your muscles, they also improve flexibility and range of motion and reduce stress.

Lower your anxiety
Speaking of stress, anxiety is a major factor of blood pressure levels. Many of the everyday issues that come with senior independence can cause you to feel overwhelmed and make your blood pressure spike temporarily. Over time, people who have excessive stress may develop hypertension. If you’re feeling tension, there are many small steps you can take to reduce anxiety. Practice deep breathing exercises, listen to soothing music and engage in muscle relaxation techniques to ease yourself out of a moment of stress. If you experience chronic anxiety, long-term solutions such as meditation or – if your doctor finds it necessary – medication, may be necessary.

Consider medical intervention
When diet and exercise aren’t enough to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, it may be beneficial to turn to prescription drugs. Talk to your physician about your diet, exercise and lifestyle – he or she may prescribe you blood pressure medicine.

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