lifestyle changes for hypertension – According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, USA), 1 in 3 American adults have prehypertension, which means that their blood pressure levels are higher than normal. Worse, only about half of the people with high blood pressure have the condition in control.
The numbers are no good in India either. In India, hypertension or high BP is one of the twin epidemic (other one being diabetes), with 1 in 5 Indians suffering from the issue. These numbers point out the risky situation that millions of adults deal every day.
Long-term high blood pressure can result in the main physical problems, including:
- Poor blood circulation
- Damaged muscles, particularly in the heart
- Risk of heart attack or cardiac arrest
- Risk of stroke
Fortunately, the medical condition can be addressed. In fact, with simple lifestyle changes, you can take conscious, proactive measures that can lower your blood pressure. These tips to lower blood pressure can deal with symptoms as well as risk factors associated with the condition.
How to Reduce High Blood Pressure?
Overweight and obese people are likely to have hypertension or high blood pressure. That happens because body weight is directly proportional to high blood pressure i.e. with the increase in body weight the blood pressure will also increase and vice-versa.
Being overweight causes a variety of health issues, such as disrupted breathing while sleeping, poor blood circulation, and strain on the heart and stress on the bone structure. All of this, in turn, can lead to hypertension, which when coupled with obesity can be very dangerous to your health.
Therefore, losing weight is one of the most effective ways to reduce blood pressure. So, don’t carry extra weight around your waist.
Exercising at least 30 minutes five times a week is one of the best ways to reduce blood pressure. Studies indicate that by just doing this high blood pressure can be reduced by 4 to 9 mm Hg.
The idea is to be consistent and follows a proper schedule. People who have mild high blood pressure can completely avoid developing full-blown hypertension by indulging in physical activities. Also, by physical activities, we mean, a proper blend of aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
Incorporating a certain amount of cardiovascular exercise (for example, walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, etc.) in your daily workout routine can improve blood circulation, lung capacity and heart efficiency, which in turn helps in the gradual reduction of high blood pressure.
Being fit, exercising and eating healthy get-together. They are part of the same deal. Eating healthy is the ideal way to keep blood pressure under check. Start on the diet that is rich in whole grains, vegetables, lean proteins and fresh fruits whereas low is dairy products, fat, and cholesterol. Moreover you should know some eating rules.
Approved by doctors as across the world, this kind of diet is called DASH i.e. the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet. Studies suggest that it can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg.
- Maintain a diary to analyze what you are eating. Alternatively, use health apps on your phone. This is an excellent idea if you are overweight or eat unhealthy foods. This could keep you in check.
- Eat enough but reduce the consumption of fat, sodium, cholesterol and artificial sugars. Don’t starve yourself to lose weight and keep high blood pressure in check.
- Increase your potassium intake to reduce high blood pressure. However, discuss potassium foods and supplements with your doctor before taking a decision.
- Shop smartly and don’t just shop for brand names or high product prices. Read the ingredient table before purchase.
Reduce Intake of Sodium
One of the primary causes of high blood pressure is over intake of salt i.e. sodium. It is responsible for increasing hypertension and even increases the risk of heart and kidney diseases. Every food we have contains salt, even the sweets. So, reducing its limit is one of the best tips to lower blood pressure. These steps will help you reduce your sodium intake.
- Read food label carefully to choose products that are low in sodium.
- Avoid processed food as much sodium is added during processing.
- Reduce consumption of cheese as it contains the high amount of sodium.
- Restrict your use of salt to just 1 level teaspoon only. Season your food with fresh herbs and spices instead.
- Rinse your canned food items if possible.
- Avoided pre-marinated food items.
- Try using low salt recipes.
- While eating out, request for using less salt to your meal.
- Try low sodium salt after discussing it with your doctor.
Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
Anything in excess is bad. This is particularly true for alcohol. Smaller quantities may have good health effects. However, drink a little too much and you will strain your body. It is also responsible for sudden blood pressure spikes.
In general, the recommended limit for women and men aged above 65 years is a one drink/day whereas for men aged below 65 years it is two drinks/day. So, if you have blood pressure problems, drink moderately or rather don’t drink at all.
Smoking causes cancer, and it also spikes your blood pressure, which can increase the chance of getting a stroke. Each cigarette that you smoke keeps your blood pressure elevated for several minutes even after you have finished. So quit smoking. You will control blood pressure and add to your life expectancy.
Cut Back On Your Caffeine Consumption
Cut back on those 4 or 5 cups of coffee and reduce it to a cup or two every day. The same goes for tea. Cutting back on caffeine will help in dropping your blood pressure, bringing it to a normal range.
There isn’t a doubt about the fact that stress is one of the main culprits in high blood pressure. It even leads to obesity, bad health habits and lack of exercise, smoking and drinking. So, check and eliminate stresses. We know it’s easier said than done. However, you can understand what’s causing stress and do meditation or yoga (any form of exercise really) to keep stress in check.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure Regularly
Thanks to the inexpensive portable blood pressure measuring devices, monitoring your blood pressure at home is quite possible. Therefore, it is advisable that you monitor your blood pressure at regular intervals and keep tabs on it. It will help you assess your lifestyle choices and provide alerts about any possible health complications.
Get the right support
Your family tries to take care of you, but you shrug them off. This isn’t the right way to deal with high blood pressure. They care about you, so use their support. That’s a better, the right support for you. However, if that doesn’t work, you can choose to get professional help from clergy, psychologists or priests. Or join a support group.
Follow these tips and you will stay healthier. Conquer High Blood Pressure.
Also Read: 10 Top Daily Health Tips For Your Family.