With 75 million individuals suffering from it — High Blood Pressure (HBP) is a prevalent health problem in the United States.
HBP happens when blood flows at a rapid speed through your veins — on a regular basis. Hypertension is another name for this condition.
Now, as it typically goes unnoticed — High Blood Pressure is also known as the "Silent Killer."
Thus, even if you do not witness any symptoms, it is a must for you to have your blood pressure monitored.
High Blood Pressure can lead to a variety of other potentially serious health conditions.
But, what are the risk factors?
Some people are more susceptible to high blood pressure than others.
Your chance of getting HBP can also increase by certain lifestyle choices.
So, if you have one or more HBP risk factors — lowering your blood pressure can prove to be extremely beneficial.
The following individuals are at the highest risk of getting HBP:
- Women (specifically over age 65)
- Individuals with a family history of HPB
- Individuals who consume a considerable amount of sodium
- Individuals with obesity or inactive lifestyles
- Heavy drinkers
Now, to lower your blood pressure, you can assuredly rely on medication. However, there are a variety of other lifestyle options for lowering your blood pressure as well.
Following is the list of the same:
One often-overlooked method for preventing and treating high blood pressure is stress management.
If you're constantly tensed and on edge, try these stress-relieving techniques:
(i) Make sure you get enough rest.
Sleep deprivation can have a detrimental impact on your emotions, mental alertness, energy level, and physical health.
(ii) Learn a few relaxation techniques.
Meditation, muscle relaxation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga — are all excellent stress-relieving practices.
(iii) Make your social network stronger.
Take a class, join an organization, or participate in a support group to meet new people.
(iv) Improve your time management abilities.
The more effectively you can balance your responsibilities (whether at job or with family)— the less stressed you will be.
(v) If you can, try to find a solution to a stressful issue.
Allowing difficult situations to fester is not a good idea.
Hold meetings and try to solve personal and professional problems.
(vi) Take care of yourself.
Get a massage. To truly relish an experience, eat purposely and concentrate on the flavor and savor each bite.
Take a walk, snooze, or listen to your favorite music as well.
(vii) Request for assistance.
Don't be hesitant to ask your spouse, friends, or neighbors for assistance. Consult your doctor if your tension and worry persist.
Dr. Sanul Corrielus can too guide you on leading a healthier lifestyle.
(2) Lose Weight and Keep an Eye on Your Waistline.
As people gain weight, their blood pressure often rises.
Being overweight can also induce sleep apnea, which elevates your blood pressure even more.
One of the most beneficial lifestyle adjustments for managing blood pressure is weight loss. So, if you're overweight or obese, losing some weight can surely help in lowering your blood pressure.
In general, each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight you lose — can lower your blood pressure by roughly 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg).
(3) Exercise — On a Regular Basis.
If you have high blood pressure, regular physical exercise — such as 150 minutes per week or around 30 minutes most days of the week — can drop it by 5 to 8 mm Hg.
Now, it is critical to maintain consistency.
Because when you stop working out, your blood pressure tends to rise again. Also, if you have hypertension, regular exercise can help you lower your blood pressure to more manageable levels.
(4) Maintain a Balanced Diet.
If you have high blood pressure, eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products while avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol can drop your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg.
This eating strategy is known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH).
Now, it is not easy to change your eating habits, but following these guidelines will help you in maintaining a healthy diet:
(i) Keeping a food journal is a good idea.
Even if it's only for a week, writing down everything you eat might reveal a lot about your genuine eating habits.
Keep track of everything you eat, how much you consume, when you eat it, and why you eat it.
(ii) Consider increasing your potassium intake.
Potassium can help lower blood pressure by neutralizing the effects of salt. Foods like fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements, are the finest sources of potassium.
(iii) Be a wise shopper when you go shopping.
When you're shopping, read the labels on the foods you buy, and stick to your healthy eating plan even when you're dining out.
(5) Consume less sodium in your diet.
If you have high blood pressure, even a minor reduction in salt in your diet can enhance your heart health and lower your blood pressure by 5 to 6 mm Hg.
Thus, try to limit your sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. For most adults, however, a lower sodium consumption of 1,500 mg or less per day is preferable.
Consider the following suggestions to reduce sodium in your diet:
(i) Read the labels on the foods you buy.
If at all possible, substitute your regular purchases with low-sodium foods and beverages.
(ii) Reduce your intake of processed foods.
Natural foods have a limited quantity of salt. And large amounts of sodium are added during the manufacturing process. Hence, avoid consuming processed foods.
(iii) Use herbs and spices.
The sodium content of a leveled teaspoon of salt is 2,300 mg.
Therefore, to add flavor to your cuisine, why not try using different herbs or spices.
(iv) Take it slowly at first.
If you don't think you'll be able to dramatically reduce your sodium intake overnight — work on it gradually.
Over time, your palate will adjust.
(6) Reduce the amount of alcohol you consume and quit smoking:
Alcohol has both positive and negative health impacts.
You can potentially lower your blood pressure by 4 mm Hg by drinking alcohol in moderation — one drink per day for females, two drinks per day for males.
Also, try to quit smoking. In as little as one day after quitting smoking, a person's blood pressure begins to drop. Smoking cessation can, thus, help you live a healthier life by lowering your risk of heart disease and improving your overall health.
(7) Caffeine consumption should be reduced.
Though it is still a disputed topic, as per a few research studies — caffeine can elevate blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg in those who seldom consume it. Coffee drinkers, on the other hand, may have little or no influence on their blood pressure. However, over time, blood pressure may keep on increasing moderately. So, check your blood pressure within 30 minutes of consuming a caffeinated beverage (to see whether it has increased or not).
Whatever the results are, discuss the same with your doctor.
High Blood Pressure or Hypertension, if left untreated, can have serious repercussions.
Uncontrollable high blood pressure can have the following consequences:
- Heart attack
- Aortic dissection
- Pulmonary Edema
Thus, if your blood pressure results are higher than 180/120, seek medical help right away. This level of pressure can be harmful to organs and result in critical conditions.
The team at Corrielus Cardiology can help you manage your blood pressure.
So, do not wait any further.
Your health should be your priority.
Make an appointment to talk about your health choices today.