Hypertension, or, high blood pressure, as you may know it by, is one of the world’s biggest health risks as it can act as a catalyst and a precursor, for a whole selection of other health conditions in the human body, many of which can be fatal. Sadly, hypertension is very common, and the number of people suffering with high blood pressure is growing every single day, as opposed to reducing. Individuals diagnosed with hypertension often need to rely on a whole selection of prescription drugs and medications, many of which can provide pretty unpleasant side effects themselves. The scary thing about having high blood pressure, is the fact that, unless you are hooked up to a special device by your doctor and are diagnosed with the condition, until you use one of these devices to get an accurate reading of your blood pressure, you will have no idea that there is anything wrong with you at all. The good, yet frustrating news regarding high blood pressure however, is the fact that the disease is preventable, and also naturally manageable, without having to rely on prescription drugs and medications, if, you catch it early enough. Even if your doctor has prescribed medications and drugs to help lower your blood pressure, there are still a number of things you can do to help lower it much quicker. The thing to remember about hypertension and lowering your blood pressure however, is that there is no quick fix, and that, in order to really address the issue, you will need to make a number of lifestyle changes that you should ideally stick with for the rest of your life. Here’s a look at a few healthy tips on how to reduce blood pressure.
Lose excess body fat
If you’re like a large percentage of the human population, there’s a strong chance that you will be overweight and carrying too much body fat. This isn’t just some malicious and ignorant statement made out of the blue, either, it is backed up by scientific facts and data, as currently there are more obese individuals living in this world than ever before. There is an unmistakable correlation between excess body fat percentages and hypertension, which is why health and fitness experts recommend losing weight in order to get your blood pressure under control. Even simply losing a relatively small amount of weight such as 4 – 6 over the course of several months can still have a positive effect on your blood pressure readings, so don’t think that your efforts have been in vain if you don’t see the numbers that you may have been hoping for. To help make things even easier, studies have also found that medication designed to lower blood pressure, works much more effectively on individuals that have smaller BMIs, so basically, the more weight you lose, the more effective your medication will become.
Get plenty of physical exercise and activity
We’re living in a world in which people are leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles, which is one of the reasons why obesity levels are through the roof and why conditions like diabetes, and hypertension, are sadly becoming all too common. If you’re guilty of not getting enough regular physical exercise, you will need to do something about that and force yourself to get a little bit more active and fit and healthy, which you can do via physical exercise and activity. Obviously we know that some of the best and most obvious forms of physical exercise and activity involve going for a run, or heading to the gym several times per week, but in reality, any form of physical activity can be beneficial. For example, doing a little gardening, housework, DIY, or walking the dog, all burn calories and get your heart rate up, which means that they can be classed as forms of aerobic activity. The more exercise you do, the more efficient your heart becomes at making use of oxygen in the blood, and it requires less energy to pump blood around the body. The healthier the heart, the more efficient it becomes at pumping blood, so the less likely you will be to suffer from hypertension, and if you already do, the healthier your heart becomes, the lower your blood pressure levels will become by default. You don’t need to go crazy with the exercise, but as you do get fitter and healthier, it is important that you increase the exercise tempo and frequency so that you can continue making improvements.
Consume less sodium
Sodium is commonly found in salt and salty foods, and it is this ingredient that plays a key role in people’s blood pressure. Experts have found a direct link between high sodium consumption and high blood pressure, so limiting sodium consumption is absolutely essential for anybody looking to get their blood pressure readings down. As mentioned, salt is rich in sodium, so avoid salty foods. One teaspoon of salt, for example, contains a staggering 2400mg of sodium, so avoid over seasoning your food if you struggle with hypertension. We all know that salt can help add flavour to your meals, so if you do insist on adding extra salt, there are many low sodium salts and seasonings for you to choose from and make use of. Many foods contain hidden dosages of sodium that you may have never even considered before, so take the time to read food and nutrition labels on the products that you consume on a daily basis.
Clean up your diet
If you’re guilty of consuming far too much junk food and unhealthy products in general, you will need to make some pretty drastic changes to your diet sooner, rather than later, in order to really get your blood pressure levels under control. Many processed junk foods are packed full of trans fats, LDL cholesterol-boosting ingredients, salt, sugar, and other artificial chemicals that do the body absolutely no good in the slightest. As previously mentioned, we spoke about the importance of losing weight in order to get your blood pressure under control, and of course, eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet is a key way of doing just that. On top of that however, if you consume a selection of fresh, healthy, and natural foods that are enriched with vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and other nutrients, your chances of lowering your blood pressure naturally will increase even more. For the best foods and drinks to consume in regards to lowering your blood pressure, think about looking into the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. The foods consumed on the DASH diet are naturally low in sodium, salt, and unhealthy fats, and are full of energy and nutrients. Many of the foods are also rich in diuretic minerals like potassium, which can help to flush excess sodium out of the body.
If you smoke, stop!
Ok, we know how addictive smoking can be and sadly, we know that it takes more than just somebody telling you to stop smoking, to actually make you stop, but even so, there are many, many, many, many, many reasons why you should quit smoking as soon as you possibly can. Smoking is expensive, it makes you smell bad, it stains your hands and teeth, it makes you look older than you are, it makes you unfit, it causes lung cancer, it can cause strokes and heart attacks, and it can cause hypertension, and that is just scratching the surface in regards to the many health risks associated with smoking. Cigarettes are packed full of nicotine, which is the chemical responsible for getting you addicted to the products. Studies have found that, as soon as a person finishes smoking a cigarette, their blood pressure levels increase dramatically, and stay elevated for up to one hour after the person finishes smoking the cigarette. If you imagine somebody smoking two or three cigarettes an hour, you can imagine how dangerously high their blood pressure levels can get. This frequent smoking can mean that blood pressure levels remain elevated throughout the day, which is obviously very dangerous.
Get your readings checked regularly
Rather than visiting the doctor, some people will order kits online that are designed to check your blood pressure levels but unless you purchase a medical-grade kit, which would obviously be very expensive, you should still get your readings checked by professionals instead. The reason for this is that cheaper kits may not provide accurate readings, and besides which, speaking to an expert is always the best option as they will be able to explain what the readings mean, and what you can do to get your levels even lower. By having your blood pressure levels checked regularly, you get an idea of whether the changes you have made are working, and if they aren’t, your doctor will be able to make some suggestions on what you could try doing instead. Not only that, by keeping an eye on them regularly, you help to ensure that they don’t creep dangerously high, which could lead to a heart attack or a stroke.