This article is for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Seek medical care for your treatment.
If you or your loved ones are suffering from blood pressure and want to bring down your numbers, then you are at the right place. This article is not only going to help you in evaluating your lifestyle but will also assist you to live a healthy life because lifestyle plays an imperative role in treating blood pressure and other unknown diseases. But, before getting deeper into the article we should know what we are fighting against.
What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?
High blood pressure is notoriously known as a “silent killer”, generally it has no visible symptoms until there is noticeable damage done to the heart that is why most people are unmindful that they have high blood pressure thus, causing a heart attack or stroke. A study reveals High blood pressure affects half of the American adults. When blood pressure is high, the blood moves more vigorously through the arteries, damaging the blood vessels by putting intense pressure on the tissues of the arteries. Normal blood pressure should be less than 120/80 mm Hg. Blood pressure readings are of two values:
- Systolic pressure
The top number represents the force of the pressure when your heart beats and pumps the blood.
- Diastolic pressure
The bottom number represents the pressure on the blood vessels when the heart muscle relaxes.
Diastolic pressure is always lower than systolic pressure.
One can control, delay or prevent blood pressure and minimize the usage of medicines by simply keeping a healthy lifestyle.
1. Melt off extra pounds
Blood pressure and weight work together and are a deadly combination. Being overweight or obese can cause sleep apnea which further leads to an increase in blood pressure. By losing 6 to 10 pounds you can lower your blood pressure. With losing weight it is critical to keep an eye on your waistline for controlling blood pressure.
2. Exercise regularly and be more active
Kick off your sedentary lifestyle and be more sporty and mobile. Results show that regular exercise can reduce high blood pressure by 5 to 8 mm Hg and prevent elevated blood pressure from turning into high blood pressure. Consistent exercise boosts heart and breathing rates and pumps with little effort, making your heart stronger. A strong heart puts less stress on arteries with minimum effort which ultimately lowers your numbers. People suffering from hypertension should exercise daily to get out of the danger zone and be safer and healthier.
Study reveals that 30 to 40 minutes of exercise 5 to 6 times per week can drop your blood pressure to 5 to 9 points. If you find half an hour of exercise vigorous you can break it and do it in intervals.
Walking, jogging, swimming, strength training, dancing or aerobics helps in elevating your heart rate. Not only strenuous exercise but doing domestic chores, gardening, washing your car, cleaning your house, playing a sport, and climbing stairs all result in lowering your numbers. Moderate persistent physical activity can do the magic.
3. Ditch your saltshaker
Every person responds to salt in a different manner. When some people eat too much sodium their body holds on to those fluids which results in high blood pressure, such people are salt sensitive. Whereas, certain people are salt insensitive. They can easily have rich sodium intake without increasing their blood pressure because they can excrete it through their urine.
AHA recommends keeping your sodium intake less than 1500 mg per day. Limiting your sodium intake can easily lower your numbers from 3 to 6 points. Enlisted below are the best ways to cut down sodium intake:
- Avoid processed or canned foods.
- Read food labels before buying and select low sodium substitutes for food and beverages
- The best is to cook your own food so that you can monitor your sodium intake
- Add spices and herbs for more flavor
Potassium plays a chief role in lowering your blood pressure and relaxing your blood vessels. Potassium-rich foods are milk, yogurt, banana, fish, fruits, and vegetables.
But before increasing potassium in your diet consult your doctor because potassium is damaging for kidney patients.
4. Live a stress-free life
Life these days is pretty fast. It is hard to relax when there are many worries and liabilities. However, one should know what’s bothering them and how to fix it. The following points can help reduce stress:
- Avoid things or people that trigger tension and stress
- Try to solve issues instead of whining over them
- Take out some “me” time, and do whatever you love. Watching a movie, listening to music or dancing can reduce stress
- Be more grateful for whatever you have, this will incur feelings of happiness
- Try to do mind and body relaxing exercises like yoga, meditation, tai chi. Sitting under the sun
- Hanging out with friends and family is a major relief
5. Limit your alcohol
It is necessary to control your alcohol intake, as it can easily increase blood pressure even in a healthy person. Women can bring their numbers 3 to 4 points down by consuming 1 drink a day and men can lower their pressure if they limit themselves to 2 drinks a day. Consuming too much liquor can minimize the effectiveness of blood pressure pills.
6. Give up smoking
For the sake of your heart and overall health, it is imperative to quit smoking. Tobacco chemicals can raise your blood pressure by harming your blood vessels, causing inflammation, and thinning your arteries. Even the person smoking right next to you can cause damage to your blood vessels and overall health. Your blood pressure increases when you smoke.
7. Get a good, peaceful sleep
Studies depict that getting stress-free sleep helps in lowering your blood pressure. Poor quality sleep affects your body to control stress hormones. NSHH reveals that sleeping for less than 6 to 7 hours a night for various weeks can contribute to hypertension. Constantly sleeping for less than 5 hours a night can be a cause of notable high blood pressure. Sleep apnea, restlessness, and insomnia can hamper quality sleep. If you are struggling to sleep it is important to determine the main cause and try to fix the issue. The best is to consult your health care provider. Enlisted below are a few tips for getting peaceful sleep:
- Maintain a sleep schedule Followed by a bedtime routine
- Make your sleeping place comfy and cozy, turn off the lights, do something that soothes your mind and body before bedtime like taking a warm bath.
- Refrain yourself from stuffing or starving before bedtime. Avoid alcohol, caffeine or nicotine in late hours.
- Limit your daytime naps to get one good night sleep.
- Daytime exercise helps a lot in a sound sleep.
8. Keeps tabs on your blood pressure and take medical prescriptions
Blood pressure apparatus is easily available in the market and you can buy it without any prescription. Make it a habit to regularly check your blood pressure once daily and make a chart of those readings and share it with your doctor. Self-monitoring is best to keep a check on your blood pressure. If a healthy lifestyle is not working for you it is preferred to consult your doctor and take proper medications for lowering your numbers.
9. Eat some dark chocolate and garlic
Dark chocolate made of 60 to 70 percent cocoa helps lower your blood pressure. The flavonoids in dark chocolate broaden or dilate your blood vessels. Study shows that consuming one or two blocks of dark chocolate a day helps to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Raw, fresh garlic or garlic extract is popularly used to reduce your systolic and diastolic numbers. Garlic supplements lower your systolic blood pressure by up to 5 mm Hg and lower your diastolic blood pressure by up to 2.5 mm Hg. Studies show that garlic extract has more effect on blood pressure than regular garlic tablets.
10. Cut down your sugar and refined carbohydrates intake
Cutting back on your sugar and refined carbohydrates not only assists you in reducing weight but also reduces blood pressure. Sugar causes you more harm than salt because fructose raises your blood pressure more than salt. Continuous intake of sugar for a few weeks increases blood pressure by 5.6 Mm Hg diastolic and 6.9 mm Hg systolic. Low sugar and carbohydrate diet makes you feel fuller for a longer time because you are taking more protein and fat.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can ensure healthy long life.