High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a very common condition but often goes completely unnoticed for years due to the lack of obvious symptoms. Therefore, if you feel you may be at risk, you should go for regular check-ups to monitor your blood pressure levels.
If you are in the 130/80 range, it should spur you to make drastic lifestyle changes as persistently high blood pressure means you are more prone to stroke, cognitive decline, cardiovascular diseases, and kidney failure. Luckily, hypertension is highly manageable with medication.
However, you can also help to reduce your blood pressure by making some changes to your lifestyle. If you do not want to rely on drugs, try out the following pill-free therapies to keep your blood pressure in check.
Reduce Sodium Intake
Sodium has been linked to increased blood pressure as well as various heart diseases and stroke. While sodium is present in most food types, processed foods often contain much higher amounts. Therefore, you should monitor your salt intake and keep an eye on the sodium levels in processed foods.
You can weed out processed foods with high-sodium levels by checking their labels. However, the best option is to prepare your meals and avoid food items with excessive levels of sodium.
Exercise and Stay Active
Staying active is good for your body, especially when you have hypertension. High blood pressure forces the heart to put more effort than normal into pumping blood. Staying fit can remedy that by making your heart stronger and healthier, so try to follow the NHS exercise guidelines.
When the heart is efficient in pumping blood, the pressure in the arteries remains normal. Maintaining an exercise routine will keep your blood pressure in check. The workout does not have to be intense; even simple physical activities like walking, jogging, or cycling can improve your health.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help to keep your blood pressure in check. Obesity is associated with hypertension because it puts a strain on your heart. If you are overweight and suffering from mild hypertension, you probably do not need medication to get better. You need to lose a few pounds, and your blood pressure reading will go back to normal.
Stressful situations are common in life, and exposure to chronic stress has been found to contribute to the development of hypertension. Furthermore, the way you react to stress can affect your blood pressure. For instance, if your response is eating unhealthy comfort food, drinking alcohol, or smoking, then you will increase your blood pressure.
If you can minimize stress or find a healthier coping mechanism, you will be able to control hypertension. Some of the ways to limit stressful situations are by focusing on issues that you can manage and avoiding any triggers. It will also help if you make time to relax and unwind or meditate.
With each puff of cigarettes, your blood pressure and heart rate increase. After using tobacco for a long time, you may suffer from hypertension due to damage and inflammation of your blood vessels.
Furthermore, if you already have hypertension, smoking worsens the symptoms and increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. If you want to manage hypertension, you should quit smoking and avoid staying around smokers – studies show that even passive smoking can damage your blood vessels.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eating a balanced diet can lower your blood pressure significantly. Therefore, if you have been relying on takeout and junk food, you need to make some changes. Your diet should be rich in fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
Avoid eating food with saturated fats and high cholesterol levels and focus on a low-carb diet. Increasing your potassium intake can also be useful in managing high blood pressure since it eases the tension in the blood vessels and lowers the salt content in your blood.
Consult Your Doctor
While the above methods may work in managing hypertension, you still need to go for regular check-ups to avoid complications. After taking your blood pressure readings, the doctor will recommend the best course of action, which may have to involve medication. Working with your doctor will increase the chances of success in dealing with hypertension.