The following information was taken from the book The Home Remedies Handbook:
Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as having a blood pressure (the pressure that pumps blood to our heart and arteries to the circulatory system) equal to or higher than 140 systolic and over 90 diastolic.
Poor lifestyle, stress, pollution and lack of physical exertion usually make a person a candidate for hypertension. Also, people with a family history of the condition, overweight and aging individuals are at risk of this condition.
Hypertension can be controlled but it won’t be that easy because you have to change the way you think and act. You may be asked to take medications for life and cut down on bad habits that may aggravate your condition. Your efforts will likely pay off and you’ll be able to enjoy a longer and healthier life.
Join the club. Accepting the fact that you are hypertensive is the first step in order to reduce high blood pressure according to David Carmichael, MD, medical doctor of the Cardiovascular institute at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California. Many people won’t believe that they’ve got high blood pressure and will continue to reject that opinion even if they see a doctor. Realizing your condition will make it easier to do the necessary steps in controlling your hypertension.
Lose weight. Increased weight conditions contribute to the elevation of blood pressure says Robert A. Phillips, MD, PhD, director of the Hypertension Section and associate Director of the Cardiovascular Training Program in the Division of Cardiology Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Losing weight lowers blood pressure not in everybody but for most people. For every pound of excess body weight you lose equal to two points lost in blood pressure. A modest amount of weight loss is better than none at all.
Invest in some home blood pressure monitor. At home monitoring has several benefits. It can warn you if your high blood pressure is severely high so you can get immediate medical attention. It will also save you money by cutting trips to the doctor just to check your blood pressure levels. Monitors should be done as close to the same time of the day under the same conditions.
Start an exercise program. Aside from weight loss, exercise provides other benefits to people with high blood pressure. Those who are severely hypertensive, shouldn’t exercise until their blood pressure is controlled but people who are mildly hypertensive, can take at least 20 – 30 minutes exercises three times per week and will benefit with a reduction of blood pressure by about eight points which will last at least half a day. It is best to ask your doctor before beginning any exercise program especially if you haven’t done any physical activities for quite some time. Any aerobic exercise (jogging, cycling, swimming) that will elevate your pulse and sustains elevation for at least 20 minutes will do. Anaerobic exercises like weight lifting and push ups are dangerous to hypertensive patients.
Take your medication. The biggest danger in hypertension is that it is asymptomatic until its final stages meaning it does not show any symptoms compared to other diseases. You will feel just fine even if you don’t take your medication but inside your body the illness will continue to progress and will soon damage your arteries and will cause dangerous effects to the rest of your body. When you stop taking your medication, the illness will tend to “rebound”. A phenomenon where the blood pressure rises to a higher level than it was before you started taking your medication.
Eat less salty foods. Salt for all we know plays a large part in having a high blood pressure. An average American takes about eight to ten grams of salt a day. Cutting that amount down to a third can be beneficial in lowering blood pressure levels. Ideally, people should cut down their salt intake to six grams per day (short-term objective) and for about four-and-a-half grams per day (long-term objective).
Read labels. Most items today found in our groceries contain nutritional information on the product that we are going to buy. Take advantage by reading the labels for you to know how much salt (sodium) you are about to take when you open a can of your favourite sausages. One teaspoon of salt contains as much as two grams which is almost half of the daily recommended amount. To calculate the amount of salt, multiply the sodium amount (expressed in milligrams) by two-and-a-half.
Say no to a second round. Taking at least a 1.5 ounce of hard drink, 4 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer will have no effect in the risk of increase of blood pressure but consuming two or three drinks per day will put your blood pressure in elevated levels.
Eat a banana. Potassium has been proven to lower down high blood pressure levels. It is commonly found in bananas. The average person requires at least three to four servings of potassium rich fruits and vegetables per day. Supplements may be better but they are not recommended without prior advice from the doctor since they may be hazardous for individuals with certain medical conditions. Aside from bananas, potassium can also be found in raisins, milk, yogurt and orange juice.
Drink your milk. Studies suggest that extra calcium added to your diet may have a modest effect on your blood pressure. The effect may not be significant but there is no harm in adding a few extra in your daily diet.
Add polyunsaturated oils in your diet. Most people know that polyunsaturated oils can lower down blood cholesterols and add to that it can also lower down blood pressure. Switching to canola or safflower oils can reduce high blood pressure according to James A. Hearn, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Quit smoking – now. Cigarette smoking is the number one no-no for hypertensive people. Nicotine causes blood pressure to rise and dramatically raises your risk of stroke. Cigarette smoking can thicken your blood and increase its chances to clot. Giving up on smoking as early as now can immediately lower down your chances of having the risk of stroke or heart attack. After two years that you’ve quit smoking, your risk of developing coronary heart disease dropped to the same level as someone who has never smoked.
Learn to relax. Many people misunderstand the term hypertension believing it is a condition where the patient is overly tense. The term is defined solely for the blood pressure levels. Many hypertensives are the consummate “Type A” personality. These are the aggressive, workaholic, hostile, frustrated or angry persons. Some form of relaxation may help these people on their treatment. People should know their personality traits and do their best to change. Some chronically stressed-out individuals release a lot of adrenaline into their systems. That rush of hormone constrict the arterioles (tiny blood vessels) causing them to go into spasm which will be difficult for the heart to push blood leading to high blood pressure.