- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
How to Naturally Lower Your High Blood Pressure
Things you can do at home to control your high blood pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension – HTN) is a common medical condition that implies that the person has an elevated blood pressure in the arteries, which, when untreated, may cause serious and sometimes even life-threatening complications. A person with high blood pressure typically has to take medication to lower the blood pressure in order to keep it below a critical point. Some people have a slightly elevated blood pressure naturally, just as others have a low blood pressure. While this may be attributed to genetics and many other factors, it is paramount to keep the blood pressure levels relatively normal, as any abnormal deviations may mean a grave complication.
People with high blood pressure are prone to strokes, heart attacks (myocardial infarctions), heart failures, aneurysms, chronic kidney diseases and they tend to develop migraines, have sleeping problems more often than people with normal blood pressure levels, and so on – the list goes on and on.
Before we move on to discuss high blood pressure and some natural ways to lower it, we will first define normal blood pressure and the way it is measured. Blood pressure influences how hard your heart has to work to pump blood, and an elevated blood pressure implies that your heart will have to work harder than normal, and thus you will run a higher risk of having a number of potentially fatal complications. A low blood pressure, on the other heart, is quite opposite, and is often linked to a lower heart rate and so on. Neither is good, of course. A normal blood pressure ranges from 100 to 140 mmHg systolic (the upper number) and 60 to 90 mmHg diastolic (bottom number).
High blood pressure can be defined as blood pressure that is constantly above the 140/90 mmHg when resting. In order to maintain your blood pressure and keep it within the normal range, it is sometimes necessary to take medication on a regular basis. High blood pressure, even when it does not cause any serious complications and when it is just slightly above the normal is still dangerous because it literally reduces your life span. Basically, your heart can endure only so much.
There are many ways to lower the blood pressure that are natural and can help you cut down on the medication and generally make you feel better, and in the following sections we will discuss them in more detail.
Lower your blood pressure by reducing sodium intake and alcohol consumption
These are the two things that actually help immensely in reducing your high blood pressure. We all know that too much sodium is really bad for our general health, but sometimes it is so hard to resist to add some more salt to your favorite dish. The problem is that sodium elevates the blood pressure, so you need to be serious about controlling the sodium intake on a daily basis. Try to keep your salt intake less than 2300 milligrams per day, and 1500 milligrams if you are over 50 years old. It will reduce your blood pressure by 2 or 3 to 9 mmHg, and that is a pretty good difference that can be crucial in the long run. Also, consider using potassium enriched salt, which will help control your blood pressure even better because you will be getting additional potassium, which is key for people with hypertension.
When it comes to alcohol, you may have to give up on the idea that you can take a few glasses of something every once in a while. In fact, this may cause you more harm than taking a glass of nice wine every day. Moderation is crucial if you suffer from high blood pressure, so stick to that one glass per day if you must, but do not go over it. The one glass a day actually may help reduce the blood pressure by about 3 mmHg, but more than that elevates it. An important thing to stress is that non-drinkers will not benefit from this one glass a day strategy, and should avoid alcohol altogether.
Stop or cut back on smoking
Smoking raises your blood pressure, and that is an inevitable fact. In fact, smokers tend to have an elevated pressure all day long because of this habit, and it is of crucial importance to stop smoking as soon as one learns about their high blood pressure. The boost your blood pressure gets from a cigarette is about 10 mmHg, which is a difference that can tip you over the stroke or heart attack threshold. Limit your smoking severely or stop it entirely, and make sure t avoid sitting in rooms full of smokers. Second hand smoke is not something you need in your life.
Drink less coffee and caffeinated beverages
Caffeinated beverages elevate the blood pressure, and if you have issues with blood pressure, you are advised to cut back on coffee and drinks that contain a lot of caffeine. These include sodas, energy drinks, teas, and so on. The blood pressure does not get a huge boost from coffee, but there are people who are sensitive to caffeine, so it is best not to risk it by having too much caffeine. Limiting yourself will help immensely in the long run.
Lose some weight
When it comes to high blood pressure, losing weight is one of the first things you should start working on, especially if you have issues with the waistline. Now, there are people who think that they do not need to lose even a pound, but to be sure, it is best to get a body mass index measurement done. There are people who look relatively slim, but the fact is that they have more fat that muscle (the so-called skinny fat).
A small change in diet is often enough to shed a few pounds, and with each pound you lose, your blood pressure will be lower and easier to control. This is because the pills you take to control your elevated blood pressure work significantly better when you d not have a lot of fat. So basically, shedding a few pounds may literally save your life in the long run.
Introduce some exercise into your routine
Taking a walk every day may work wonders if your blood pressure is high. In fact, any kind of exercise will help as long as you manage to incorporate it into your routine as often as possible. Regular exercise that lasts for about half an hour, if done daily or at least most days of the week, will reduce your blood pressure from 4 to 10 mmHg – and fast! This is actually the quickest way to get results and feel the positive change.
One thing that is never dull and can be done by virtually anyone is a daily powerwalk. A powerwalk is actually extremely beneficial and will make you feel good almost instantly – and works wonders for people with high blood pressure. All it takes is for a person to get up and go for a fast-paced 20 minute walk. In fact, just walk fast as long as you can and get that heart pumping. Take your dog for a walk. Call a friend. This incredibly effective and simple workout may, in fact, save your life and spare you the complications that are caused by high blood pressure.
Foods that help lower high blood pressure
Eating a healthy diet adjusted to your situation is the best thing you can do for yourself, no matter what ailment you have. When it comes to high blood pressure, you will probably know about DASH immediately when someone mentions it. DASH stands for “dietary approach to stop hypertension”, and it is basically an eating plan that is adjusted to people with high blood pressure.
First thing one should consider when they have high blood pressure is boosting potassium intake. This has to be done through food and not supplements though, so be careful about that. Good simple choices of potassium-rich foods are bananas and potatoes, but you can also grab some avocados and spinach. These are all potassium superfoods. Replace your salt with potassium enriched salt as well as soon as possible, because it will do wonders.
You will also need to focus on more fiber-rich foods, so replace your white bread with brown bread as the first step. Add beans, soybeans and peas to the equation, and as many vegetables as possible, and try eating garlic as often as you can. This way you will get fiber, potassium, magnesium and many other minerals crucial to reducing and controlling high blood pressure. Avoid too many sweets and fatty foods, and if you want a treat, get yoghurt and dark chocolate. These will actually help with your condition and protect your cardiovascular system and heart.
Stress, stress, stress – avoid it!
Lastly, and very importantly, if you have high blood pressure, you will need to avoid stress. Now, this may sound impossible, but there are times when we can control it immensely. Avoid arguments, conflictive people, and especially important decisions, of you can. Try to leave the finances and decisions to your spouse or work with them to get these things done faster and better.
Avoid negative people at all costs. You do not need bad air surrounding you, or being swarmed by negative emotions. Engage in relaxing activities, and make sure to have things loosely planned out so that you know what is happening, but don’t stress out too much if something goes awry.
High blood pressure is a condition that can lead to some serious complications and even fatal outcomes if not dealt with promptly and appropriately. You may not be able to get miraculously cured, but you can certainly take charge and control of your situation very effectively. In fact, if you manage to reduce stress in your life, alter your diet a bit and exercise, you will probably not even feel most of the symptoms you would otherwise feel on a daily basis.