High blood pressure is also known as hypertension or ‘the silent killer’. According to the American Heart Association high blood pressure affects more than 78 million American adults and it continues to grow. It is a silent killer since many people don’t have any visible symptoms so they are unaware that they are affected by this.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, don’t get panic and don’t start taking medication quickly. Once you start medication, you have to follow it throughout your life. If you are able to control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, then you can might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Here are 10 tips that you can follow to make your blood pressure low:
Do regular physical activity. If possible go for walk at least for 30 minutes regularly. The heart is a muscle and it will grow stronger with exercise. Then it becomes easier to pump blood and takes less effort. From regular exercise you can lower pressure by 4-9 mmHg. Even sometimes your exercise is disrupted or you feel unwell, don’t stop it, and continue it after few days. Otherwise, you blood pressure can rise again. Best exercise for lowering blood pressure are walking, dancing, cycling, swimming, jogging, or doing light household chores. Consult your doctor for exercise program.
2. Reduce sodium intake
Salt is not the problem for high blood pressure but its sodium that contains in salt. A Little bit is fine but too much sodium disrupts the balance of fluid in the body. Table salt we use is not only responsible for high blood pressure alone but the highly processed food, restaurant dishes and junk foods are also loaded with bulk of salt. Our daily salt limit is 2300 milligrams but if you want to make food tasty, use herbs and spices. Cut off salt slowly in your foods and also read food labels for sodium contained.
3. Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. Having small amount of drink can be good for your heart and lower blood pressure. A study found that light drinking may actually reduce blood pressure more than no drinks per day. You can have a small drink per day but it will be harmful if you drink more than that. If you drink more, it not only raises your blood pressure but also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. If you drink, drink moderately.
4. Quit smoking
Smoking a cigarette can temporarily raise blood pressure 10 mmHg for up to an hour after smoking. If you are heavy smoker then your blood pressure will rise for extended periods of time. Smoker and secondhand smoker can be at increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Quitting smoking helps blood pressure to get normal and also substantial increases in life expectancy.
5. Reduce excess weight
Excess weight and blood pressure go hand in hand. Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Reducing weight is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. You need to keep track of weight around your waistline. Fat around waist is called visceral fat, which tends to surround organs in the abdomen. Carrying too much weight around it can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure. For men waist measurement should be less than 40 inches while for women it should be less than 35 inches.
6. Stress less
In current hectic life, everyone is in hurry and wants to complete every task very quickly. People don’t have time to slow down and relax. Chronic stress contributes a lot to high blood pressure. Occasional stress also contributes to high blood pressure if you try to control your stress by unhealthy foods, drinking alcohol or smoking. So it is important to get away from daily stress and take a few deep breaths, meditate or practice yoga. Try to find and fix the cause of your stress which may be your relationships, job, or finances.
7. Eat healthy diet
Healthy diet is not only good for high blood pressure but also for overall healthy body. Focus on eating food rich whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy products, lean meat and fish. Eliminate foods containing saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Following this you can lower your blood pressure up to 14 mm Hg. This is DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
Whether you have high blood pressure or not, it is always best to go for preventing diseases than curing it later on. You can prevent hypertension by maintaining low sodium diet, engaging in cardiovascular exercise, being proactive about your stress and avoid unhealthy foods. Look in the family history and you can find out if you are at high risk of developing high blood pressure. Many diseases are hereditary and if you find out quickly, you can take precautions.
Meditation relaxes your body, make you feel good and you can commit to do it regularly. It is strong stress management tool as it involves chanting, breathing, visualization and self-realization. It helps to reduce depression and anxiety resulting you to become happier person. Happy mind makes happy and healthy hearts.
10. Cut back on caffeine
It is still debated that whether caffeine can increase blood pressure or not. Caffeine can raise blood pressure by 10 mmHg in people who rarely consume it but no strong effect in habitual coffee drinkers. There is possibility of a slight increase in blood pressure even though it is not clear. So check your pressure within 30 minutes after drinking coffee. If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mmHg, you need to consult to your doctor about consumption of caffeine.