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5 Heart-Healthy Holiday Tips for Managing Hypertension

5 Heart-Healthy Holiday Tips for Managing Hypertension

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is often magical, a reward for a busy, hard-working year. Traditions and celebrations with friends and family abound, often accompanied by favorite foods and drinks. 

Sometimes it may feel like the holidays are sent to challenge you if you’re managing hypertension. Your routine of diet, exercise, and stress reduction can be thrown into a tizzy by the demands of holiday tradition. The specialists at Alpha Internal Medicine want to help you out with five heart-healthy tips to help you whiz through the season while maintaining your blood pressure successes. 

Hypertension facts

About 116 million Americans have high blood pressure, the common name for hypertension. If you’re one of them and you have the condition under control, congratulations. Three-quarters of those with hypertension don’t. Many aren’t even aware they have a problem. 

High blood pressure is either the primary cause or a contributing factor in over half a million deaths every year, so your management plan is reducing your risk for becoming part of that statistic. It’s a good reason why you’ll benefit from keeping your plan on track through the holidays. 

Holiday blood pressure challenges 

It seems that every hypertension diet restriction is violated with your favorite holiday foods. There is, though, another factor that causes issues even before your first slice of apple pie and ice cream. 

Generally, blood pressure is higher during the cooler months. Cool temperatures and unsettled weather patterns can cause blood pressure to creep up. If you forgo outdoor physical activity, you could compound the negative effects contributing to hypertension. 

5 heart-healthy tips for managing hypertension

Against this backdrop, your blood pressure remains manageable if you keep a few points in mind as you enjoy the season. These five tips use the same strategies with which you’re already familiar. 

Balance your eating

High sodium, high fat, and high sugar remain the enemies, and seasonal celebrations often invite an increase in alcohol consumption. Maintain your regular, heart-healthy meals as much as you can, so that you’re full and less tempted to overindulge on holiday foods. You can still taste your favorites, but keep portions small. 

Maintain your medication

Your hypertension medications have a level and schedule that’s right for you. With an active social calendar, it’s easy to miss a dose because of forgetfulness or changing routines. Prepare in advance with smartphone reminders and pill containers that travel with you. Watch out, too, for the effects of over-the-counter cold and flu medications that can bump up blood pressure. 

Ease up the stress

Remember that the holidays are for everyone’s enjoyment, particularly when you feel the pressure to prepare, shop, or appear at every event. Chronic stress bumps up your numbers, so don’t forget heart-friendly “me” time. 

Get your rest

It’s tempting to burn your festive candle at both ends to pack in all the fun you can. Remember that there are holiday seasons in the future, too, so call it an early night now to enjoy yourself years from now. 

Boost your activity

You’ll cruise through the holidays like a pro athlete if your body is in its best form. Maintain or even add to your gym time to offset some of the extra calories as well as extending the pressure-reducing benefits of your workouts. Treadmills or other training equipment make excellent early gifts that you can benefit from throughout the season. 

When you need a helping hand with hypertension management, or if you require prescription renewals, contact Alpha Internal Medicine by phone or online. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, particularly when your blood pressure is under control.  

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