My friend was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure. He obviously is concerned and has asked me the question how to lower your blood pressure? Here is some advice I told him as to what he can do to bring it back down naturally.
His anxieties heightened enormously when he read that high blood pressure is the biggest known cause of disability and premature death in the UK brought on by strokes, heart attack and heart disease.
Statistics show that one in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure and every day 350 people have a preventable stroke or heart attack caused by the condition. So he now wants to do whatever is necessary to take control of his lifestyle and try to make improvements.
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day. When blood pressure stays elevated over time, it’s called high blood pressure.
The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Blood pressure is usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded as two numbers—systolic pressure (as the heart beats) “over” diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats)—for example, 130/80 mmHg.
Both numbers in a blood pressure test are important, but for people who are age 50 or older, systolic pressure gives the most accurate diagnosis of high blood pressure. Systolic pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading.
A blood pressure level of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, then you have prehypertension. This means that you don’t have high blood pressure now but are likely to develop it in the future unless you adopt the healthy lifestyle changes described in this post..
My friends measurement was 154/104. Not good!
Why is high blood pressure important?
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels. Over time, this extra strain can damage your body’s organs, which puts you at risk of health problems.
These following lifestyle changes can have a real effect on your blood pressure.
Reduce Salt Intake – Excess salt will raise your blood pressure, so it is important to eat as little as possible. By paying close attention to food labels when you shop, you can consume less sodium. Salt is found naturally in many foods. But processed foods account for most of the salt and sodium that we consume. Processed foods that are high in salt include regular canned vegetables and soups, frozen dinners, lunchmeats, instant and ready-to-eat cereals, and salty crisps and other snacks. Use food labels to help you choose products that are low in sodium
Eat more fruit and vegetables – Eating a good amount of fruit and vegetables will help to lower your blood pressure. Adults should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. A portion is 80 grams, or roughly the size of your fist. Try to eat a range of different fruits and vegetables.
Eat Healthily – You can reduce your blood pressure by eating a diet low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy foods. Focus on eating whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and keep to a low amount of fats, red meats, sweets, and sugared beverages. Eat sufficient amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as protein and fiber.
Reduce Caffeine Intake – Drinking caffeinated beverages can temporarily cause a spike in your blood pressure, but it’s unclear whether the effect is temporary or long lasting. Regardless of your sensitivity to caffeine’s effects, doctors recommend you drink no more than 200 milligrams a day — about the amount in two cups of coffee.
Drink less alcohol – Too much alcohol raises your blood pressure. The current recommended limits are 21 units of alcohol a week for men, and 14 units a week for women. A unit is roughly half a pint of beer or cider, a small glass of wine, or a single pub measure of spirits. If you keep to the recommended alcohol limits, this should help keep your blood pressure down.
Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. In fact, your blood pressure rises as your body weight increases. Losing weight will help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of health problems. The best way to lose weight is to choose more low-fat and low-calorie foods, and increase your physical activity. Set yourself realistic goals. Make small changes in your diet and activity levels that you can keep to for life. There’s no magic formula losing weight. You have to eat fewer calories than you use up in daily activities. Just how many calories you burn daily depends on factors such as your body size and how physically active you are. One pound equals 3,500 calories. So, to lose 1 pound a week, you need to eat 500 calories a day less or burn 500 calories a day more than you usually do. It’s best to work out some combination of both eating less and being more physically active.
Perform regular physical activity — at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-level physical activity most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or control high blood pressure.
Quit Smoking – the nicotine in tobacco products can raise your blood pressure by 10 mm Hg or more for up to an hour after you smoke. Smoking throughout the day means your blood pressure may remain constantly high. So quit, you know you should.
Get Enough Sleep – getting enough sleep makes a noticeable difference in your blood pressure
Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you may avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
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