If your blood pressure is mildly-elevated, it's possible to normalise it through weight loss, regular exercise and healthy eating. The
National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS)
Department of Cardiology, a member of the
SingHealth group, explains. (iStock photo)
Blood pressure refers to the force of the body's blood pushing against the inner walls of the blood vessels, especially the arteries. A healthy blood pressure reading should be lower than 120 (systolic)/80 (diastolic) mmHg. A blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher indicates high blood pressure.
What the numbers mean
For mildly-elevated blood pressure, there are several things you can do to bring your blood pressure back to normal.
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1. Adopt a healthier diet
a) Avoid foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats such as:
- Animal fats
- Eggs (Health Promotion Board recommends no more than 4 eggs per week)
- Red meat (e.g. beef and lamb)
- Coconut milk
- Palm oil
- Lean meats
- Low-fat dairy products
b) Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables
c) Cut back on salty foods
How to reduce salt in your diet, whether you have meals at home or out
2. Exercise regularly
Exercise for 150 minutes per week, at least 30 minutes each time. Brisk walking is one of the simplest and effective forms of exercise.
3. Maintain a healthy body weight
In Asians, a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) falls below 22.9, while a BMI of above 27.5 is considered obese.
4. Don't smoke!
If you smoke, quit! Not only can smoking raise blood pressure, it is also a risk factor for coronary artery disease and stroke.
5. Keep stress in check
Better management of stress can help lower blood pressure levels. To manage stress better:
- Exercise regularly
- Adopt a balanced approach to work and family life
If your numbers continue to increase…
If your blood pressure level continues to rise, your doctor may put you on drug treatment, complemented by a healthy lifestyle. Treatment of hypertension for most is lifelong.
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