High blood pressure is a common worry about Americans, especially once people hit middle age and older. A new study has found the most effective way to lower blood pressure and it’s easier than you think.
For 25 years, Dr. John Booth III, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alabama, and his team studied 4,700 people between the ages of 18 and 30 years old. The study began in 1985 and 1986 and the volunteers had their blood pressure and health habits checked and measured 8 times.
Booth stated,”Our results indicate by maintaining a healthy body weight into middle age, you can help preserve low blood pressure. There have been increases in blood pressure at younger ages, which are linked to heart disease and stroke. We evaluated the long-term impact of maintaining healthy behaviors on [high blood pressure].”
The main health habits Booth and his team looked at are were:
After reviewing all the results at the conclusion of 25 years, the researchers found the most effective way to lower blood pressure–maintaining a healthy weight. They found that participants that kept a healthy body weight had a 41% less likely chance to have higher blood pressure at middle age.
They also found that those that kept up at least 4 of the healthy habits had a 27% decreased risk of having high blood pressure by middle age. Oddly enough, drinking and smoking did not really impact the results, so more research will need to be done to confirm this finding.
Just because the most effective way to lower blood pressure is maintaining a healthy weight, it does not mean that the other habits do not matter. The other habits contribute to your weight, so it’s important to strive for all of them.
“Multiple factors are contributing to the risk for developing high blood pressure across the life span, and these factors all interact together,” Booth remarked.
Being mindful of your weight can make a big difference over the years. It does not take anything drastic, just simple eating and exercise habits to maintain a healthy weight for your height.
Dr. Howard Selinger from the Frank H. Netter M.D> School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University added:
“When you gain weight, your heart has to work harder because the weight has a compressive effect on the blood vessels. Over decades, that can produce cardiac problems. The vascular bed—the blood vessels—stiffens as we get older. That, in turn, keeps blood pressure lower and prevents more serious outcomes. If you lower your weight, you lower the pressure.”
All in all, try to live the healthiest lifestyle you can but primarily focus on your weight. If you need to lose weight, follow the other 4 habits and you will be on track to better heart health.