We all have heard about blood pressure – the highs and lows of it determine the healthiness and luminosity of our lives. To simply quote, blood pressure is the pressure applied by the circulation of blood on the blood vessels of the body. It is one of the vital signs of a healthy heart and body. But how to control high blood pressure?
Blood pressure works in a rhythmic pattern. It rises every time the heart beats and falls when the heart relaxes in between the beats. Though it varies depending on many factors such as age, stress level, activities performed, disease state, etc., it should ideally fall between 120/80 mm Hg for an adult of age 20 or above. The top number is systolic- pressure in the arteries when the heart muscles contract. The bottom number is diastolic- pressure in the arteries when the heart muscles relax in between the beats.
How to Control High Blood Pressure – High Risk Involved
Blood pressure that is consistently higher than the normal range is due to a disease state called hypertension. Long-term hypertension is very dangerous as it makes the heart work strenuously to pump out blood for the body.
Hypertension can significantly result in hardening of the arteries, and can even cause the kidneys to dysfunction which apparently can lead to failure of the heart.
How to Control High Blood Pressure – Prominent Symptoms
A person suffering from high blood pressure sometimes experiences headaches, but as such, there are no specific signs or symptoms of high blood pressure. This is exactly the reasons why a person must get his/her blood pressure checked from time to time.
The WHYs of high blood pressure
Before stating an answer for “How to control high blood pressure” it’s important to get answers to “Why control blood pressure.” While there aren’t any exact reasons behind why a person suffers from hypertension. Some specific conditions and factors can play a key role in its development. Enumerated below are some of the risk factors for hypertension:
- Excess intake of salt in food
- No or very less physical activity
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Genetics- family history of hypertension
- Chronic kidney problem/disease
- Old age
- Sleep Apnea
High Blood Pressure- Control it before it starts controlling your life
Treating high blood pressure is a two-dimensional process. First is the medication way. Second is bringing changes to lifestyle and diet. Thankfully there are some proactive measures that one can adapt to their lifestyles to control high blood pressure and even lower chances of developing a heart disease. Let’s take a look at these easy and practical solutions to how to control high blood pressure:
- Shed extra kilos: Blood pressure is directly proportionate to weight gain. Obesity is an evil monster as it causes stress on the joints, bones and heart. It also leads to sleep apnea, which further increases blood pressure.
- Reduce salt intake in the diet: Extra sodium in the food is a villain for hypertension patients. Research has shown that even a small reduction of sodium from the diet has resulted in lowering the blood pressure by as much as 8mmHg. Cutting down on processed food also help in reduction of sodium intake.
- Exercise regularly: Exercising is one of the best ways to decrease high blood pressure. A regular and active workout improves circulation, ease muscle pain, improve posture and ultimately leads to a better lifestyle.
- Quit Smoking: On average, each cigarette takes away seven to eleven minutes of life. Quitting smoking helps in lowering blood pressure and increasing life expectancy.
- Reduce stress levels: Stress levels work worst for people who are suffering from hypertension. It is also observed that people end up eating unhealthy, drinking alcohol or smoking to calm their stressed minds. It is important, therefore, to keep stress at bay and try to cope life in a better and healthier way.
- Limit alcohol amount: Alcohol, if taken in small amounts, can lower the blood pressure. But that is the catch! This shielding effect is negated if one drinks too much alcohol. Consuming more than a moderate amount of alcohol can even reduce the efficacy of blood pressure medication.
- Indulge in Dark Chocolates: Dark chocolates are rich sources of flavanols that make the blood vessels elastic and enhance the changes of lowing blood pressure level. As per a study, nearly 18% of the patients who consumed dark chocolate every day in prescribed quantities saw their blood pressure decrease significantly. Half an ounce a day with 70% cocoa content – is what you can have.
- Switch to Decaf: Caffeine in largely contribute in raising blood pressure level as it tightens the blood vessels and magnifies the effects of stress. Therefore, it is widely suggested either to reduce the intake of coffee or to switch to decaf. It’s a smart alternative to your craving for coffee.
- Potassium is your New Friend: Adding potassium rich fruits and vegetables to your daily diet is an important part of any blood pressure reducing program. Potassium rich sources include sweet potatoes, orange juice, tomatoes, banana, peas, kidney beans, honeydew melon, dried fruits and cantaloupe.
- Monitor Blood Pressure: Last but not the least, regularly monitor your blood pressure level. This helps in keeping a tab on your health and make changes in case it fluctuates. Blood pressure monitors are easily available in the market that are easy to use and read.
High Blood Pressure – Prevention is better than cure
It has been commonly observed that most people with high blood pressure can prevent the condition from occurring or increasing by making the above mentioned changes in their die and lifestyle. As wisely said by a learned man, “Life is all about the choices we make.” Make healthy choices today to prevent yourself from suffering from conditions and diseases at a later stage.