One of the most prevalent medical diseases nowadays is high blood pressure, or hypertension; chances are you know someone who has it. Seventy million Americans, or one in three, suffer from high blood pressure. Managing your blood pressure can be done in a lot of simple ways. You could not fully comprehend the significance of blood pressure regulation according to your healthcare practitioner. However, their concerns will seem clear when you read more on the definition, causes, and potential health effects of high blood pressure.
What is High Blood Pressure?
The excessive strain your heart applies to your arterial walls as it pumps blood throughout your body is referred to as hypertension or high blood pressure. Your heart’s contraction pressure is represented by the upper number, or systolic. The pressure at resting heart rate is represented by the lower value, or diastolic. If either figure is higher than usual, your blood pressure is elevated.
High blood pressure can harm your heart and blood vessels over time. There is a significant risk of stroke and heart attack. Thankfully, it is treatable with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and medication if needed.
What causes high blood pressure?
A complex interplay of environmental and genetic variables leads to high blood pressure. For the majority of people, it appears to develop on its own, but occasionally it’s brought on by another medical problem, such as a hormone or renal disorder. Among the risk factors for elevated blood pressure are:
- Age: As we age, our arteries harden, which makes it harder for our heart to circulate blood throughout our bodies.
- Lifestyle: High-sodium diet, smoking, obesity, binge drinking, and inactivity
- Family background: If one or both of your parents have high blood pressure, your chances of developing it are doubled.
- Race or ethnicity: Black people experience high blood pressure more frequently, more severely, and earlier in life.
- Health issues: It appears that having high cholesterol or diabetes increases your risk of developing hypertension.
Natural Ways to Treat High Blood Pressure
Most of the time, hypertension can be managed without the need for medication. Numerous lifestyle modifications, such as eating a different diet or practicing meditation on a daily basis, have been shown in studies to be useful in lowering blood pressure.
A major factor in controlling hypertension is diet. Specifically, consuming whole meals instead than processed ones can lower blood pressure, according to clinical research. Modifying your eating habits doesn’t have to be difficult. Here’s how to go more slowly with it.
1. Carbohydrate Lovers Will Love the DASH Diet
The DASH diet, which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,” may be the most researched diet in history. DASH is proven to be helpful in reducing systolic blood pressure by up to 11 points in multiple clinical investigations. (The “top” figure in a blood pressure reading, the systolic blood pressure, indicates the arterial pressure created when your heart beats and blood flows through your body.)
New study has called into question the original DASH diet plan’s guideline to limit sodium intake to just 1500 mg per day. Unless your healthcare professional advises you otherwise, new guidelines recommend reducing your daily sodium intake to no more than 2300 mg because it’s essential for vital bodily functions. There’s no proof that consuming less than that provides any extra advantages.
2. The Low-Calorie Diet: Effective for Losing Weight
Research has demonstrated that cutting calories alone can lower blood pressure by as much as six points on the systolic reading. Why? most likely as a result of the fact that a low-calorie diet lowers blood pressure through aiding in weight loss.
If you decide to treat your hypertension with a low-calorie diet, make sure to stay away from processed, fatty, and salty foods and stick to unprocessed whole foods like vegetables and whole grains. Otherwise, your blood pressure may not improve.
3. Mediterranean Diet: Ideal for Enthusiasts of Wine and Food
This eating plan, which was influenced by the dietary practices of those who reside near the northern Mediterranean Sea coast, is undoubtedly well-known to you. Although studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can lower blood pressure by a modest two points, this eating pattern has also been found to have heart health benefits beyond only lowering blood pressure.
Consuming exclusively monounsaturated fats—primarily from olive oil and olives—along with regular servings of fresh produce, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and fruits is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet. On the Mediterranean diet, high-protein, high-calorie foods are often consumed in moderation, mostly in the form of fish, chicken, and legumes. I eat red meat only once a month on average.
Drinking alcohol with meals every day—mostly red wine—is an essential component of the Mediterranean diet. While wine does not immediately lower blood pressure, moderate wine consumption is good for the heart (and spirit!).
Any prolonged physical activity that raises your heart rate qualifies as aerobic exercise. Engaging in aerobic exercise can enhance the cardiovascular system’s efficiency, leading to a five-point or greater drop in blood pressure. As a general rule, your aerobic activity is productive if it causes you to breathe heavily.
However, to see results, you don’t need to begin marathon training. Simple walk, dance, and playing will add aerobic physical activity to your everyday routine.
Although isometric exercise is relatively new, it has a great potential to lower blood pressure. Indeed, a mere 10 points can be taken off your systolic (high) number with easy handgrip workouts!
During isometric exercise, a muscle is allowed to contract without shortening. When you squeeze a tennis ball, your arm muscles tighten but do not shorten like they would if you were to perform a biceps curl with a dumbbell. This type of exercise is known as an isometric one. Handgrip isometrics are the most researched kind of isometric exercise. With the exception of the unique equipment, this procedure is comparable to the tennis ball example.
Although there isn’t enough evidence to support yoga’s ability to effectively lower blood pressure, there is no denying that it can relieve stress. Furthermore, lowering stress may have a significant role in managing hypertension. Not sure where to begin? Check out our guide to the different styles of yoga.
Any type of exercise is beneficial for controlling hypertension. Therefore, get exercising if you have pre-hypertension or high blood pressure! Getting your stress under control, meeting new people, and rediscovering enjoyable activities can all be achieved through exercise.
Preventing and managing high blood pressure starts with understanding it. Maintaining ideal blood pressure readings and general cardiovascular health mostly depends on leading a healthy lifestyle and visiting the doctor on a regular basis. For individualized advice, speak with a healthcare provider if you’re worried about your blood pressure.