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HBP Patient Guide

Maintaining a healthy weight Many Americans are overweight or obese, and this is itself a risk factor for high blood pressure, among many other serious health conditions. If you are overweight or obese, your healthcare provider can gauge how much weight you need to lose by determining your body mass index (BMI). BMI is determined by assigning a numerical value to your weight in relation to your height. The American Heart Association has a BMI calculator you can use here. There’s good news here, too. Even losing 3% to 5% of your body weight can bring good health benefits, such as reducing the workload on your heart. Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to lose weight. The safest way to lose weight is typically to do so a few pounds at a time, by making changes to how many calories you eat and how much physical activity you get. By reducing calories and increasing your physical activity, you’re on your way to a healthier weight. Reducing stress Researchers continue to study how stress affects our health, and while we don’t know exactly how stress impacts high blood pressure, we do know that it has an effect. Stress makes us more likely to overeat or eat unhealthy foods, drink too much alcohol, smoke (or smoke more than usual), and engage in other risky behaviors that are known to have a bad effect on high blood pressure. While stress is unavoidable, it can be managed effectively. There are some simple things you can do to reduce the amount of stress you have to deal with. These include: nnGiving yourself time to get things done. Overscheduling yourself can increase your stress load. nnNot overpromising what you can do. There’s nothing wrong with saying “no” if adding one more responsibility would be too much for you. 11


HBP Patient Guide
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