High blood pressure or hypertension is a notorious silent killer.
Its symptoms are so darn inconspicuous; direct signs usually show up when it’s already in a deadly, emergency level that can trigger a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure is taking more than 1,100 lives in the US every day.
We don’t want to wait for that to happen, would we?
A holistic approach is best
Medication these days may seem to be the first and obvious choice—but that doesn’t have to be. You see, our blood pressure also increases as we age. Medication is advised for those aged 50 years old and above because they are more susceptible to cardiovascular risks. For adults, major factors that contribute to hypertension risks at an early age are usually caused by our lifestyle, if not our genes.
Our manner of living plays a crucial role in treating our high blood pressure. A holistic approach where you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay, reduce or may even ditch the need for medication altogether.
1. Restrict salty foods in your diet
Let’s just say, salt or sodium makes our blood pressure shoot through the roof because it causes an imbalance to our delicate bloodstreams. Do reduce your intake of salt by:
- examining food labels and ingredients
- eating less processed foods
- eating less fast food
- avoiding adding salt itself into your meals
2. Lose weight
If you are carrying extra pounds, reduce some… or a lot. Losing weight might be the best lifestyle change to make for controlling and lowering blood pressure. Overweight and obese people are prone to greater risks of high blood pressure, so heads up and start sweating!
To get you started, below are links to quick and effective ways to get fit:
3. Exercise regularly
I can’t stress enough how important physical activities are in lowering blood pressure. Consistency is the key, not intensity, because once you’ve stopped exercising, your blood pressure can skyrocket again. I recommend cardio exercises such as:
You may obtain a gym membership (and use it), hire a fitness trainer, or you can also develop your own exercise program.
Before are additional links to help you boost your exercise regimen:
4. Moderate alcohol consumption
Small amounts of alcohol may potentially reduce blood pressure. Be wary not to drink alcohol as a first aid remedy if you’re having hypertension because an excessive intake of alcohol can make things worse. What’s more is that it can potentially reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medication in the future—yikes! Drink in moderation.
5. The DASH diet
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet consists of eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grain, low-fat dairy foods, as well as a limited quantity of poultry, fish, meat, nuts, and beans.
It aims to systematically encourage people to consume less salt and increase the intake of calcium, magnesium, potassium to help lower blood pressure.
6. Avoid or reduce stress as much as possible
Stress itself can trigger high blood pressure. Stress can also cause you to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and munch on those (potentially salty) comfort foods sitting inside the fridge. Although we know what we are doing is important, stress, unfortunately, causes our mind and body to wear out.
Tips to avoid and reduce stress:
- Know your triggers: it can be things, events or people, try to spend less time and attention on them.
- Think of plans to solve problems that are under your control.
- Take some time to channel the stress into something recreational and motivational. Like meditating or doing your exercise in forms of yoga instead of smoking.
- Turn stress into productivity
- Focus on things that turned out good. Develop a grateful attitude and count your blessings.
To help you flesh out the ideas mentioned, below are links to explain things for you:
7. Have your blood pressure checked
Monitoring your blood pressure is important so you can be certain if your lifestyle changes are working.
Buy that familiar upper-arm cuff device (aka sphygmomanometer) if you don’t have one in your home – trust me, it’s a sound investment. Check your blood pressure 30 minutes before and after you eat, after exercise and before you go to bed.
Summing it all up
Relying solely on quick first-aid fixes is not advisable in this particular matter. Learn how to lower high blood pressure. High blood pressure could be asymptomatic in nature, so a healthy, not-so-stressful, less salty and less fatty diet is not a guarantee.
If something doesn’t feel quite right, pay your doctor a visit first and foremost. The doctor’s expert opinion will tell you whether you should take medication or you can regulate blood pressure through lifestyle changes outlined above or if you need to visit your doctor more frequently.
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