To our incredible PreCardix® community, and each human-being on our planet, looking after your health has never been more critical – for yourself and others. As COVID-19 continues to burden our health care system, it’s our responsibility to maintain the aspects of our health and wellbeing that we can control.
According to Public Health Agency of Canada, for those of us with pre-existing conditions like hypertension protecting our health using every single tool in our tool-kit is a top priority. Optimal health means following all current COVID-19 guidance from the World Health Organization and practicing all the self-care that you may have put off, avoided, ignored or sporadically performed.
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, it’s more critical than ever to stay on top of your condition! Here are some suggestions on how you can do so from home:
a) There are many free resources to help you track and monitor your blood pressure including our new PreCardix® Blood Pressure app.
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly (even daily!) to ensure that your numbers are well managed during this time.
- Bonus: You can also track your weight as your new lifestyle habits help you shine on the inside and out.
b) Hypertension Canada encourages you to continue taking your ACEI, ARB and/or other blood pressure medications previously prescribed by your doctor.
We are here to support you as the world and we adjust to this new reality. The good news is there are many simple, rewarding steps you can take to improve your health quickly. You may be surprised at how good it feels to finally have the time and space to take back the control you lost over the years of busyness and distraction.
We hope this guide helps you kick-start your health and immune system into high gear. Take a few deep breaths, light a candle, cuddle your pet, hug your child and make a commitment to start your journey to wellbeing today.
- FOCUS ON HYGIENE.
There is strong messaging about hygiene for a good reason; it works!
– Wash your hands with soap and water (for a minimum of 20 seconds) or use alcohol-based sanitizers to kill any viruses that may be present on your hands.
– Avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth, especially in public spaces.
– Cough or sneeze into your elbow or tissue (then dispose of the tissue immediately after use).
- EAT FRESH, COLOURFUL, WHOLE FOODS.
Ensuring that our bodies get all the necessary macro and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is vital for immune function. If you are finding it difficult to go out for fresh produce, google online grocery delivery in your area. Many Canadian grocers are offering exceptional service despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Easy ways to ensure you’re eating immune-friendly foods include:
– Fill half of your plate with colourful vegetables – cooked, raw or both. Drizzle sliced tomatoes and cucumber with olive oil and lemon, prepare a cup of low-sodium vegetable soup, make a salad or hot vegetable-dish like roast peppers and onions.
– Include a good source of protein (chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes) about the size of your palm at every meal – you can find some great, easy recipes here!
– Increase your water intake! Drink at least 2L daily – that’s eight small glasses or four large glasses.
– Minimize or ideally eliminate; sugar, alcohol and any packaged foods – especially those high in sodium.
– Feeling adventurous? Now is a great time to try fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut or kefir for some added good gut bacteria!
- GET RESTFUL SLEEP.
Deep sleep allows our body to rest and repair; it’s also when our body produces and releases cytokines or the chemical messengers that activate our immune system.
Here are a few tips to get a restful night’s sleep:
– A dark room; you shouldn’t be able to see your outstretched hand
– A cool room; ideal temperature is 20.5 Celsius
– Avoid screen time at least 30 minutes before bed
– Avoid large meals and vigorous exercise 3 hours before bed
– Keep your bedroom for sleeping and intimacy only, keep electronics out!
- MANAGE STRESS.
One of the most important things you can do to support a healthy immune system is to manage stress and foster feelings of wellbeing and positivity. While this time holds uncertainty, the way we perceive the situation is more powerful than reality. Stress, especially ongoing stress, takes a toll on our immune system, while mindfulness improves immune function.
Stress reduction tips:
– Get outside, breathe in some fresh air, move your body – if you can’t get outside right now open a window, step out onto a balcony and spend a few minutes in the snow or sun.
– Try a meditation app, or guided yoga video to focus on deep breath and a healthy immune system.
– Have a positive conversation with a loved one – FaceTime is an excellent resource as are group phone calls when you can’t see your favourite people in person.
– If you feel yourself getting stressed or anxious try box breathing; breath in for a count of 4, hold for 4, breathe out for a count of 4, hold for 4 and REPEAT.
There are so many great ways to exercise, what’s important is to find something you love.
- Hypertension Canada recommends at least 45-50 minutes of walking each day. If you are in an area where you can maintain social distancing while outside, then continue to do so. Take smaller walks a few times a day or have one big outing. Daily walks are productive times to spend with your family or take some alone time if you are feeling cooped up at home.
- For those who can’t get outside right now, try an online yoga or stretch class. Many studios are currently offering classes for free. An older adult might like the gentle movements of Tai Chi. Simply getting up and down out of your chair several times a day can get your heart rate up and keep your muscles and joints from stiffening.
- Quick Tip: Set a 30-minute timer each time you sit down and when the timer goes off stand up; grab a glass of water, do a quick stretch or a small household chore like watering plants. Standing for just 71 minutes out of your day can improve your long-term health!
- COLD TURKEY
You may not want to hear this, but there has never been a better time to stop smoking, vaping or drinking too much alcohol. Though these activities may provide temporary stress relief, they are putting unnecessary strain on your body, particularly for hypertensive individuals. If you have ever wished you could finally ‘kick the habit’ now is the time!
Helpful tips for Healthy Habits:
- Both stopping and starting a habit takes about 21 days; try ‘replacing’ that habit you’ve been trying to kick with a healthy habit (like a daily walk or daily blood pressure monitoring).
- Track your habits, including those you’re stopping, using bullet journaling or one of these awesome apps to keep you accountable.
- Think of your habits as daily goals; make sure they’re achievable and progressive.
- For example: start with a 10-minute walk and build towards 30 minutes.
- For more information on how to kick that bad habit read this article!
Our goal is to stay healthy individually and as a society to prevent further pressure on our healthcare system. Do your part, make your health a priority!
Always consult with your health care provider before making changes to your blood pressure management plan. PreCardix does not treat, cure or prevent blood pressure related conditions. Measure and monitor blood pressure regularly. Know the signs of heart attack and stroke. Do not take PreCardix if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have renal artery stenosis, history of angioneurotic edema or shellfish allergy.