According to statistics, High blood pressure, also known as Hypertension or “Silent Killer” affects about one billion people around the world. This health condition has been identified as one of the leading causes of death worldwide, affecting 1 in every 3 persons living in the United States. See statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Chances are that you are probably included in the statistics mentioned above, or maybe you are just interested in making sure you never get included in that statistic. Either way, knowing how to lower your blood pressure instantly is the way to go!
Having said that, let’s kick off things by understanding this concept:
Understanding Blood Pressure
With every beating of your heart, it pumps blood through the circulatory system (the arteries so to say), this blood carries oxygen and several other nutrients to various parts of your body, thereby providing nourishment and immunity to organs and tissues in your body.
The force and pressure with which the heart pumps this blood through the blood vessel to various parts of the body are what is known as blood pressure.
In the case of High Blood Pressure, it then means that the force required for the heart to pump blood through the walls of the blood vessels to various parts of the body is too high. Thus putting extra strain on the heart and the blood vessels.
There is still another case whereby the artery (blood vessel) becomes narrow. Thus posing some kind of resistance to blood flow, making the heart work harder to pump blood to the body.
Either can be very dangerous to both the heart and the blood vessels. And can ultimately result in heart attacks or strokes.
Understanding How Blood Pressure Is Measured
Blood pressure is usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). And since it fluctuates between different times of the day and for varying reasons,
It is important to know that:
120/80 mm Hg (or lesser) is considered to be the normal blood pressure. Also, BP that is 130/80 mm Hg or higher is considered to be on the high side. If your BP is constantly above the normal, but below the high, that is, between 120/80 mm Hg and 130/80 mm Hg, then you are considered to be pre-hypertensive (aka Elevated Blood Pressure).
If you are Pre-Hypertensive, then you should take great caution (especially with lifestyle) because you are at risk of developing high blood pressure.
Either way, it is usually advisable to get into the habit of constantly checking to know your numbers and keep your BP as low as you can.
- Systolic Blood Pressure: This is the first number (120 mm Hg for normal), and it represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heartbeats.
- Diastolic Blood Pressure: This is the second number (80 mm Hg for normal), and it represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.
Having understood that blood pressure is the pressure/force at which the heart pumps blood through the blood vessels to the rest of the body, a very important question you might be asking is — well, what could cause this force to be higher than normal?
That brings us to:
Causes of High Blood Pressure
The exact causes of high BP are not known. However, there are lots of things which are generally believed to contribute to this. And they include:
- Eating too much salt: consuming foods with high salt content can be very dangerous to your health.
- Having excessive weight or being obese
- High cholesterol: cholesterol typically deposits within the walls of the blood vessels thereby making the walls of the blood vessels thicker and more resistant to blood flow. This in effect is very dangerous to health, and can ultimately lead to high BP.
- Lack of physical exercise.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol can increase your chances of having a high BP.
- Old Age: Yes older persons are at higher risks of developing high BP.
- Family history: for some people, high BP runs in the blood.
- Pregnancy: some women at a certain level of pregnancy have increased chances of having high blood pressure.
Other Causes Can Include:
Chronic kidney diseases, sleep disorder, thyroid, and adrenal disorders, diabetics.
How to Lower Blood Pressure
Having understood the possible causes of high blood pressure, the necessary steps you can take to lower your BP or maintain it at the normal level shouldn’t be difficult to discern at this point.
Anyways, here are a few lifestyle changes you can make to help lower your blood pressure.
1. Become More Physically Active
Engaging in a bit more physical exercise can do much more than lower your blood pressure, it can supercharge your overall wellbeing!
Exercise will help increase your breathing rate, this will in turn train your heart to be stronger over time, thereby making your heart pump blood with less effort. Thus putting less pressure on your blood vessels. This will, in turn, lower your blood pressure.
Here are a few simple activities you can consider engaging in, to increase your daily physical activity level:
- Get a treadmill or a stationary bike at home. Tip: you can place it before your television or radio set, and get some entertainment while doing some exercise! 🙂
- Consider taking a walk occasionally rather than drive. Causally walking (alone or with a partner) may not be a bad idea as well.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator, it helps.
- Do some house chores! Tip: get some of your favorite music playing in the background while you do some household work. You’ll soon realize how entertaining and rewarding house chores can be. Thank me later! 🙂
- Outdoor, bicycle riding as well can be a great form of exercise. I know this because I just learned how to ride one a few months ago!
- Sporting: participating in your favorite sports can keep your exercise level in check!
- Do you know Tai Chi? Experts say that tai chi has a great ability to lower one’s blood pressure.
- Did I forget… dancing!
At this point, let’s look at what might be the ideal amount of physical activity you should try to maintain?
According to a report released by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in 2013, and the American Heart Association (AHA), they encourage moderate-to vivacious force physical activity for 40-minute sessions, three to four times each week.
2.Reduce Sugar and Carbohydrate Intake
Numerous logical investigations and researches show that reducing sugar and refined starches can assist you with getting thinner and lower your blood pressure.
According to a study reported in 2010 that contrasted a low-carb diet with a low-fat eating routine. The low-fat eating regimen incorporated an eating routine medication. The two eating regimens delivered weight reduction, however, the low-carb diet was significantly more successful in bringing down the blood pressure.
The low-carb diet brought down the blood pressure by 4.5 mm Hg diastolic and 5.9 mm Hg systolic. The eating regimen of low-fat in addition to the medication brought down blood pressure by just 0.4 mm Hg diastolic and 1.5 mm Hg systolic.
Also, a 2012 research of low-carb diets and coronary illness disease found that these weight control plans brought down blood pressure by a normal of 3.10 mm Hg diastolic and 4.81 mm Hg systolic.
3. Maintain A Healthy Weight
If you are overweight, you might want to consider letting go of some pounds. This will be beneficial to not just your blood pressure but to your general wellbeing health wise….double winner! Plus – your heart will thank you! 🙂
4. Watch What You Eat
In eating, you generally want to:
- Eat foods that have a low sodium content
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Consider low-fat dairy
- Eat whole grains
- Garlic; diets rich in garlic or garlic extracts.
- Inculcate fish to your diet
- Consume more of poultry diets
- Eat beans!
- Lessen the number of sweets and red meats you take in.
- Eat less processed foods. Instead of constantly eating from restaurants, consider eating more of home-cooked meals. This way, you have more control over its ingredients.
Consider eating foods rich in the following:
- Potassium. Example:
- Foods generally low in fat examples; milk and yogurt
- Fish can be a good source of protein as well as potassium!
- Fruits like bananas, avocados, and oranges, etc
- Vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, greens, spinach, etc
- High protein foods. Such as:
- fish, such as salmon or canned tuna in water.
- beans and legumes, such as kidney beans and lentils.
- nuts or nut butter such as peanut butter.
- cheese, such as cheddar.
5. Quit Smoking
In the long haul, the synthetics in tobacco can build your blood pressure by harming the wall of the blood vessels. Thereby causing aggravation, and narrowing the blood vessels. Which like we have earlier established can lead to increase blood pressure.
It is equally important you know that the synthetics in tobacco can still affect your blood vessels regardless of whether you’re around used/secondhand smoke. An investigation indicated that kids around used/secondhand smoke in the home had worse hypertension than those from nonsmoking homes.
6. Have Good Sound Sleep
It goes without saying that your blood pressure normally plunges when you’re resting/sleeping. On the off chance that you don’t rest soundly, it can influence your blood pressure. Individuals who experience a lack of sleep, particularly the individuals who are moderately aged, have a higher risk of developing hypertension.
The national Sleep Heart Health Study has advised a resting hour of between 7 – 9 hours a night.
7. Manage Your Stress Level and Reduce Worry!
Yes, I said “Manage” because it is very easy for one to have several causes of stress and worry in our world today. However, we should know that it is dangerous to health and can drastically increase blood pressure. Thus we should at all times try our best to keep stress and worries in check!
Here are a few simple things you can do to reduce stress:
- Practice yoga
- Take a walk
- Read a book
- Watching comedy
- Listening to music
8. Cut Down On Your Alcohol Consumption
If you can completely stop alcohol consumption, that will be a great move.
You then might want to bring down the quantity and rate at which you drink. Alcohol can raise your blood pressure, even if you’re healthy.
It’s important to drink in moderation. Alcohol can raise your BP by 1 mm Hg for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed. A standard drink contains 14 grams of alcohol.
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Other Things You Can Do
- Consider joining a kickboxing class; they can be very interesting and energizing.
- Contract a health trainer/fitness coach.
- Get in the habit of Swimming
- Try Medicinal Herbs: these have proven across various cultures to cure several illnesses and restore good health. A good number of them also help reduce blood pressure. Here are some medicinal herbs that can reduce blood pressure:
- Black bean (Castanospermum australe)
- cat’s claw (Uncaria rhynchophylla)
- celery juice (Apium graveolens)
- Chinese hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida)
- giant dodder (Cuscuta reflexa)
- Indian Plantago (blond psyllium)
- maritime pine bark (Pinus pinaster)
- river lily (Crinum glaucum)
- Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
- sesame oil (Sesamum indicum)
- tomato extract (Lycopersicon esculentum)
- tea (Camellia sinensis), especially green tea and oolong tea
- umbrella tree bark (Musanga cecropioides).
- Cutting Down Caffeine: According to researches, caffeine can increase BP. Though the increase is temporary, lasting for about 50 to 65 minutes, depending on the individual.
- Taking supplements that help lower blood pressure. Examples include Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, Whey proteins, Magnesium, Coenzyme Q10, Citrulline, amongst others.
- On shopping, you generally want to:
- Have a dietary plan and stick to it as you shop!
- Read labels on the item as you shop and make sure ingredients are within your normal proportion, like sodium (Na).
- Hit the gym and lift some weights! 🙂
- Get support from family and friends. Also joining a support group can help. And also keeps you informed.
- Begin Taking Prescription (especially if your numbers fall within high blood pressure).
- Do not skip your prescription (especially if your numbers fall within the high BP).
- See a Doctor (especially if your numbers fall within the elevated or high BP).
Dangers of A High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer. And this is for a reason. You never know what’s up until it hits you!
The following amongst several others are the dangers associated with high BP or not taking care to lower your blood pressure.
- Heart Attack.
- Heart Failure.
- Kidney Failure.
What natural ways have you been using to lower your blood pressure? Let us know in the comment box below, I would be very excited to hear from you.
Lowering blood pressure is not difficult at all, considering the fact that it requires majorly just some changes in lifestyle. Which with discipline and dedication, you would be able to adapt to those changes.
Considering the dangers associated with high BP, as mentioned above, you would be a winner by constantly knowing and keeping your numbers in check. Inculcating the points mentioned earlier in your daily activities would eventually be a win-win for blood pressure, your heart, and your overall health.