When someone has high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, their blood pumps too fast, pressurizing the artery walls. Eventually, the condition may lead to heart failure, stroke, or other heart problems. In the United States, high blood pressure is widespread. Over 103 million people in the country — and many don’t even know theirs is too high because it can be symptomless.
The reason many people don’t know about this? There are often few or no signs related to high blood pressure. This is why it’s called the ‘silent murderer.
If you’re thinking about lowering your blood pressure, luckily, there are safe ways to do so with healthy food and balanced lifestyle changes.
What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
High blood pressure or hypertension means high blood pressure (tension) in the arteries. Arteries are vessels that carry blood from the pumping heart to all of the body’s tissues and organs. High blood pressure does not indicate excessive emotional stress, although emotional stress and tension can temporarily increase blood pressure.
- Blood pressure less than or equal to 120/80 mm of Hg is normal.
- Between 120-129/80 is high.
- 130/80 or higher is considered high.
How To Lower The Blood Pressure At Home
Following these methods, it will help to reduce elevated blood pressure or to control it if you have already been diagnosed with a condition:
- Eat A Healthy Diet
Eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol will decrease your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg if you have elevated blood pressure. This meal schedule is known as the Dietary Methods to Avoid Hypertension (DASH) diet.
It’s not easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthier diet:
- Keep a food diary. Writing down what you’re eating, even for a week, may shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor how much you eat, what you eat, when, and why.
- Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can improve the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Food, such as fruit and vegetables, is a better source of potassium other than food supplements. Speak to your doctor about the potassium level that is right for you.
- Be a smart shopper. Read the product labels when you buy and stick to your healthy eating plan when you eat dinner out, too.
- Put Down The Saltshaker
Keeping your sodium intake to a minimum can be important for reducing your blood pressure.
In some people, when you’re overeating salt, the body starts to retain fluid. This results in a sharp increase in blood pressure.
AHA suggests limiting the sodium intake to between 1,500 milligrams ( mg) and 2,300 mg daily. It’s a bit over half a teaspoon of table salt.
Do not add salt to your meal to decrease sodium in your diet. One teaspoon of table salt contains 2.300 mg sodium.
Instead, use herbs and spices to add flavor. Processed foods also tend to be packed with sodium. Always check the food labels and, if possible, select low sodium alternatives.
- Get Moving
Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day is an important part of a balanced lifestyle.
In addition to helping lower blood pressure, daily physical exercise improves your mood, stamina, and balance. It reduces the chances of diabetes and other forms of heart disease.
If you have been inactive for a while, talk to your doctor about a safe workout routine. Start slowly, and gradually speed up the intensity and frequency of your workouts.
Not a fan of the gym, huh? Take your exercise outside. Go for a walk, a jog, or a swim, and still reap the benefits. The important thing is to get about moving!
The American Heart Association ( AHA) also advises that strength training exercises be included at least two days a week. It would help if you tried lifting weights, pushups, or some other workout to develop lean muscle mass.
- Lose Extra Pounds and Watch Your Waistline
Blood pressure is also increased as weight increases. Overweight will also cause disrupted breathing as you sleep (sleep apnea), which further increases the blood pressure.
Weight reduction is one of the most effective lifestyle improvements to control blood pressure. Losing even a slight amount of weight if you are overweight or obese will help lower your blood pressure. In general, the blood pressure can be lowered by about 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg) per kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of weight you lose.
Besides losing pounds, you should usually keep an eye on your waistline as well. Carrying so much weight around your hips will put you at a higher risk of high blood pressure.
- Men are at risk if their waist-length is greater than 40 inches (102 cm).
- Women are at risk if their waist-length is greater than 35 inches (89 cm).
These numbers range from one ethnic group to another. Ask your doctor for a healthy waistline measurement for you.
- Limit Alcohol
Drinking a bottle of red wine with your dinner is all right. It may even offer heart health benefits when performed in moderation.
But drinking excessive alcohol levels will lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure.
Excessive alcohol can also reduce the efficacy of certain blood pressure medicines.
What does moderation mean by drinking? The AHA recommends that men restrict their consumption to two alcoholic drinks per day. Women should restrict their consumption to one alcoholic drink per day.
One Drink Equals:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor
- Quit Smoking
Each cigarette you smoke raises your blood pressure for a few minutes after you finish. Stopping smoking helps to get the blood pressure back to normal. Quitting smoking will reduce the risk of heart disease and improve overall health. People who quit smoking will live longer than people who never quit smoking.
In today’s fast-paced world, which is filled with rising demands, it can be hard to calm down and relax. It’s important to get away from your day-to-day responsibilities, so you can relieve your stress.
Stress will temporarily increase your blood pressure. So much of it will keep the pressure high for extended periods.
It helps you find the cause of your stress. It could be your work, your relationship, or your finances. When you know the root of the stress, you will try to find solutions to fix the problem.
You should also take steps to relieve stress in a safe way. Try to take a few deep breaths, meditate, or do yoga.
Risk Of High Blood Pressure
When left untreated, high blood pressure will lead to serious health problems, including stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure. Regular visits to your doctor may help you monitor and control your blood pressure.
A blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher is considered to be high if you have just been diagnosed with high blood pressure, the doctor will work with you on how to lower your blood pressure.
Your recovery plan may include medication, lifestyle changes, or a mixture of therapies. Taking the above steps will help you reduce the numbers, too.
Experts claim that each lifestyle change is expected to lower blood pressure by 4 to 5 mm Hg systolic (top number) and 2 to 3 mm Hg diastolic (bottom number) on average.
Lowering salt intake and dietary changes can lower blood pressure even more.
The Bottom Line On Blood Pressure
Blood pressure can be confusing. But it’s still a wonderful predictor of your future heart health. Get to know your blood pressure number. Know it just as well as you know your weight. Then listen to the advice of the doctor. When a doctor prescribes medicine, don’t quit taking it because you believe you can fix the problem with your diet and exercise. For certain people, lifestyle changes alone are not enough.