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HBP Patient Guide

Check. Change. Control. nnUnderstanding your stress triggers. Knowing what causes you to become stressed and taking steps to avoid or manage (when you can’t avoid) those triggers can help you control stress. nnPlanning to address what you can change, and accepting what you can’t change. No one can do it all. Some things must be dealt with, and it’s good to have a plan in place for doing just that. But some things are out of your control. Learn to let those go. nnTaking time to relax. There are countless ways to relax, from breathing exercises to getting into a hobby, from sitting in a favorite chair and listening to soothing music to having a chat with a cherished friend. Make sure you make time to relax in a way that is good for you. nnBuilding relationships with people who care about you. We all need friends. Having a support network helps you get through tough times and enjoy good times all the more. nnTaking care of yourself. Eating healthy and getting plenty of physical activity has many benefits beyond your physical health—it’s great for your emotional and spiritual health, as well. Physical activity is a great stress reducer. Limit (or avoid) alcohol Drinking too much alcohol raises your blood pressure and is a risk factor for many other serious health conditions. If you do drink alcohol, limit your drinking to no more than two drinks per day (for men) or one drink per day (for women). A drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits. Avoid or quit tobacco It’s simple: Tobacco is terrible for your health. It is a known risk factor for many potentially deadly diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and lung disease, among many other conditions. Smoking is the single most important preventable cause of premature death in the U.S. While the exact connection between tobacco and high blood pressure is unclear, we do know that smoking causes blood pressure to temporarily rise. Smoking also contributes to atherosclerosis, the hardening of and buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. Atherosclerosis can lead to serious conditions of the heart and blood vessels. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, talk with your healthcare provider about ways you can begin to quit. There are medications and programs available to help you, and they have proved effective for many people. 12


HBP Patient Guide
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