If you’ve gone to the doctor recently and were diagnosed with prehypertension, you’re very fortunate–but you’re not off the hook. Even though your numbers are under 140/90, there is still reason to take your diagnosis seriously.
“It’s important to realize that there’s a continuum of risk,” said Elliott Antman, president of the American Heart Association and a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “The higher the blood pressure, the higher the risk.”
After looking at studies of more than a million people, researchers found that those with prehypertension had a 28% increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 41% increased risk of dying from stroke compared to those with healthy blood pressure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 in 3 American adults has hypertension. Being diagnosed with prehypertension is a chance to prevent your blood pressure from progressing into hypertension, which typically comes with a lifetime of prescription drugs that can cause a lifetime of side effects.
Benefits of Normal Blood Pressure
- Improved Heart Health: High blood pressure can harden you arteries and eventually lead to heart disease.
- Normal Arteries: Damaged arteries can eventually lead to a stroke because the brain isn’t able to get enough blood or oxygen to operate correctly. 77% of people who have their first stroke have high blood pressure.
- Healthier Kidneys: High blood pressure can stretch the kidneys so that they’re inefficiently filtering your blood. If this happens, you can develop chronic kidney disease.
- Live a Longer Life: Maintaining a healthy blood pressure can decrease your likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease by 25%.
- Save Money: High blood pressure can cost you if you have to spend time in the hospital or take medication.
How to Manage Your Blood Pressure Levels
Participating in 30 minutes of physical activity each day can do wonders for your blood pressure. In fact, it can help lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm Hg if it’s at a high level. If you do notice a decrease, it doesn’t mean your exercising days are behind you; it’s important to be consistent because blood pressure can go back up. Here are some examples of exercise that can be beneficial;
- Aerobic exercise: Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and dancing.
- HIIT: Also known as high-intensity interval training, where you alternate short bursts of intense activity with short bursts of lighter activity.
- Strength Training: Aim for at least two days a week.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is very effective in helping manage your blood pressure levels and can actually lower your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg if you’re experiencing high levels. The DASH diet consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Additionally, reducing the sodium in your diet can help reduce blood pressure by at least 5 mm Hg if you’re experiencing high blood pressure. Ideally, most adults should consume 1,500 mg of sodium a day or less.
3. Utilize Supplements
Magnesium: Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure by encouraging blood vessels to relax. However, the majority of older adults in the US don't get enough magnesium in their diets, according to The National Institutes of Health.
Smarter Magnesium is formulated with magnesium derived from marine sources that are known to be resistant to temperature and humidity. AstraGin®, a patented, 100% natural compound, is added to help make magnesium easier for the body to absorb.
Ubiquinol: The body produces CoQ10 to help the body convert food to energy; ubiquinol is the active form of the nutrient. CoQ10 has antioxidant properties that help support normal cell processes.
Smarter Ubiquinol is formulated with CoQ10 that has already been converted from ubiquinone to make it easier for the body to absorb and ahiflower seed oil, to provide additional support and aid normal cellular energy function.
4. Watch Your Weight
Managing your weight can be one of the most effective ways to control your blood pressure because they are typically influenced by one another. When one goes up, generally the other follows. You can reduce your blood pressure by about 1 mm Hg with each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight lost.
5. Reduce Stress
Stressed is desserts spelled backwards, and many of us rely on them when we feel pressure. Turning to unhealthy food, alcohol, or smoking when you’re stressed can contribute to high blood pressure. Reducing stress can feel impossible, but take a moment to think about what makes you feel stressed—work, family, friends, money—and consider how you can cope with them in a healthier way. Managing expectations, avoiding triggers, and taking time to relax can all help manage or reduce stress.
6. Don’t Smoke
When you smoke a cigarette, it increases your blood pressure for many minutes afterward. If you stop smoking, you can reduce your risk of heart disease and support your overall health.
7. Limit Alcohol
When people say, “drink to your health,” they’re not wrong! Women who have one drink a day and men who drink two can potentially lower their blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg. However, drinking more than the recommended amount can adversely influence your blood pressure.
- Adams, Jill. “Health & Science Your blood pressure is borderline high. What should you do about it?” Washington Post. 2015.
- Paul, Arunava. “5 reasons it is important to manage your high blood pressure.” Sentara Family & Internal Medicine Physicians. 2017.
- Harvard Health Publishing. “Key minerals to help control blood pressure.”
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication.” Mayo Clinic. 2021.