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We all are living in an action-packed world where things happen fast and unpredictably too which can stress out even the most serene of humans. This can affect blood pressure which can be harmful if not taken care of properly.
How much blood your heart is able to pump and how much resistance the blood flow encounters in the arteries, can eventually impact your blood pressure. The narrower your arteries are, the higher your blood pressure level will be.
If your blood pressure level is lower than 120/80 mm Hg, then it’s considered normal. Else anything that is 130/80 mm Hg or higher is abnormal which indicates a dangerous sign. The good news is you can bring down your blood pressure by making changes to your lifestyle habits. This will help to significantly lower your blood pressure level and also, lower the risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases, all of it without needing to take medications.
If your BP level is 130/80 mm Hg and more, then you come under the elevated blood pressure category and stand the risk of developing high blood pressure.
This is a warning sign that must be taken seriously. At the same time, there is no reason for you to panic if you succeed in making certain lifestyle changes. This will help lower your blood pressure level.
There are many combinations of exercise that can lower blood pressure, like aerobic exercise, high-intensity interval training, resistance training, walking up and down the stairs as many times as possible in a day, and short bursts of exercise at different times in a day. Aside from this, playing a team sport or going for a bike ride or gardening, also helps in lowering blood pressure levels.
A question that’s often asked is - How much exercise needs to be done daily
Basically, it’s best left to each individual ‘to decide how much exercise they would like to do and can do. While most healthy adults must do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, people with high blood pressure must try to get at least 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise, three to four days a week. If it’s not possible to get 40 minutes at a time for exercise, then exercise time slots can be divided into three or four 10-to-15 minute sessions throughout the day.
Whatever the situation or issue, people with blood pressure issues must exercise regularly and work up to at least half-an-hour sessions every day.
If your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 25, then you are overweight. Your excess weight can increase your risk of high blood pressure and other potential medical problems.
Several medical studies point out how even a gradual loss of weight can help control blood pressure levels and prevent hypertension. Losing 5 to 10 pounds can reduce blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg, and also provide several health benefits.
In recent times, there have been several incidences of weight-loss diets helping reduce blood pressure by an average of 3.2 mm Hg diastolic and 4.5 mm Hg systolic (12). However, it’s advisable to consult one’s doctor on the feasibility of the same before opting for them. This will ensure the healthiest way to reduce excess weight.
What you eat and drink daily has an effect on your health.
A healthy diet must be based on the DASH (Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension) diet which emphasizes low-fat dairy items like milk and yogurt; whole grains; fish and poultry; fruits like apricots, avocados, bananas, and oranges; vegetables like beans, greens, spinach, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes; low sodium foods; and minimal sweets, red meats, sugar, and carbohydrates. Supplements of fresh garlic or garlic extracts also help lower blood pressure by reducing systolic blood pressure by up to 5 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.5 mm Hg.
A balanced intake of potassium is recommended. It helps to reduce the effects of salt in the body system, cool down tension in the blood vessels, and lower blood pressure. At the same time, diets that are too rich in potassium can be harmful, especially to people with kidney issues.
Excess intake of sugar and carbohydrates is also harmful. Intake of sugar, especially fructose can increase blood pressure more than even salt. Restricting their intake to moderate levels will help to not only lower blood pressure but also lose weight, and feel normal longer.
Excess salt in the diet can also be harmful. It basically comes from processed foods like canned foods, chips, pizza, deli meats, and other processed snacks; and foods brought from restaurants. Reducing the intake of processed foods means less salt, sugar, and refined carbohydrates, all critical for lowering blood pressure.
Smoking is responsible for a large number of cardiovascular diseases. Research studies reveal every cigarette that is smoked raises blood pressure temporarily, increases heart rate, and also has a detrimental effect on central blood pressure which can cause brain damage; and lead to inflammation resulting in long-term damage to blood vessels.
The studies further reveal chemicals in tobacco can damage blood vessels, cause inflammation, and narrow and harden arteries, which in turn can result in high blood pressure. Blood vessels can also get affected even if one inhales another person’s cigarette smoke.
Aside from smoking, excess alcohol intake must also be avoided. Excess of it directly affects blood pressure level and can increase it dramatically. Limiting alcohol intake to two glasses a day for men and one glass a day for women is advisable; a glass of red wine a day is recommended for it offers some health benefits.
Vitamin C, also called Ascorbic Acid, acts as a diuretic and plays a vital role in the body, especially relating to the immune system. This helps fights diseases and prevents infections. What happens with Vitamin C is after its intake, it gets dissolved in water, and excess of it leaves the body in urine. Hence, people need to take sufficient Vitamin C-rich foods every day. Vitamin C-rich foods like Oranges, Papaya, Strawberries, Broccoli, Lemon, Mango, Kiwifruit, Potato, White and Pink Grapefruit Juice, Cauliflower, Sweet Green Pepper, etc, must be taken in adequate dosage every day.
This helps to eliminate excess fluid from the body and lower the pressure within the blood vessels. A study by scientists from the renowned John Hopkins University School Of Medicine, U.S., reveals high doses of Vitamin C at an average of 500 mg a day goes a long way in facilitating a gradual decline in blood pressure.
Similarly, intake of sufficient dosage of Vitamin D essential for good health is essential. As a fat-soluble vitamin, Vitamin D acts as a pro-hormone which positively affects the body’s hormonal balance and immune system, and also plays a key role in calcium absorption into the bones. Sufficient intake of it will work to interact with a range of body systems and eventually facilitate lower blood pressure. Lack of Vitamin D on the other hand will elevate the risk of hypertension.
While the biggest source of Vitamin D is Sunlight, one can also ensure sufficient intake of Vitamin D into the body system through Vitamin D-rich foods like Egg Yolks, Mushrooms, Cheese, Fish, Milk & Soy-Milk, Butter, Shrimp, Oysters, Cereals, Orange Juice, and so on.
Quality sleep is vital for blood pressure dips down when you are sleeping. Lack of proper sleep will otherwise affect blood pressure by inflating its level.
Many people often do not get good sleep. This can be harmful as sleeping less than seven hours a night can lead to high blood pressure. Likewise, excess sleep like more than nine hours a night can also result in high blood pressure; and sleeping less than five hours a night can cause a significant rise in blood pressure long-term.
If you’re one of those who are sleep-deprived, try to make your bedroom comfortable and spend time relaxing before bedtime. Also, ensure to set a proper sleep schedule and exercise during the day.
Excess stress over sustained periods of time can directly influence hypertension and have negative effects on your overall health.
Hence, reducing it is important. Some ways that can help you reduce stress are
In case, you are not able to bring down your stress level, it is advisable to consult a qualified medical specialist or a therapist who will be able to offer stress management techniques that will prevent stress and improve your health.
Normal and healthy blood pressure is critical for lowering hypertension and the chances of developing heart disease.
To stay on the safe side, alter your lifestyle habits for the better; and get your blood pressure checked at regular intervals. Follow what your doctor says, and what treatment recipes he/she recommends like intake of medications and supplements; and changes in diet and exercise regimen.
Refrain from changing your treatment plan or altogether stopping medications on your own without consulting your doctor.
It is also always a good habit to monitor your blood pressure at regular intervals. Now a days you can measure your blood pressure from the comfort of your home using the digital blood pressure monitors. You may want to explore our range of blood pressure monitors here
Stay healthy and take care!