Over 85 million Americans have high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension or HBP, usually has no symptoms but can increase your risk for developing heart disease and stroke. Obesity, smoking, heavy drinking, and family history are all determining factors for developing hypertension. Managing HBP can be difficult all year round, but especially so during the holidays. Here are some tips to help keep your blood pressure in check through the holiday season.

Maintain Healthy Eating Habits

Holiday menus are filled with treats that can be a bad influence on healthy eating habits. When you have HBP, it’s important to limit your sodium intake. Prepared meats, cheeses, stuffing, and breads can be loaded with sodium and should be consumed in moderation. Choosing water instead of fruit juice or soda is also a better option. Everyone wants the opportunity to indulge a bit during the holiday season, just be mindful of your food and drink choices.

Stay Active

The holidays typically mean changes to your normal routine, so staying active can sometimes be a challenge. For those with HBP, this could mean taking a light walk in the morning or taking a class with a friend. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can leave social calendars packed, but it’s important to take time for yourself.

Kick the Habit

If you’re a smoker, there’s no better time to quit. The nicotine in cigarette smoke raises your blood pressure and heart rate and puts you at risk for heart attack and stroke. Make it a gift to yourself, or even a resolution for the new year to stop. If you’ve recently quit smoking, the holidays can be a trying time. Your stress levels may be higher, which could be a trigger to return to old habits. Remind yourself of why you quit and how it affects your HBP.

It’s clear that high blood pressure management is no easy feat, especially during the busy holiday season. If you or someone you love is suffering from high blood pressure and looking for new treatment options, studies are enrolling now in your local area that may help.  Research doctors are evaluating new treatment options and qualified participants may have access to potential new HBP treatments.  Participants often receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff, and may receive compensation for time and travel expenses. To learn more about these studies and to see if you qualify CLICK HERE.