High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is a critical issue for many people, and it’s often undiagnosed because the symptoms don’t present early on, or you don’t notice a big enough problem to get things checked out.
High blood pressure is such a major issue because it’s a significant risk factor in many serious problems such as heart disease and stroke, two of the biggest killers in most western countries and a growing public health issue in the developing world.
If you’ve used one of the blood pressure measurement machines at a pharmacy, or your doctor has advised you have hypertension, then this article will help you find easy ways to lower your blood pressure and let you stay away from blood pressure medications if possible.
What Should Your Blood Pressure Be?
Your blood pressure can change throughout the day, so if you’re testing yourself, then it’s important to pick appropriate times so that you’re not self-diagnosing high blood pressure when that’s not the case.
If you’ve been exercising or gone for a long walk, that can elevate your blood pressure, so can having a big meal as your body starts digesting and processing all the food.
High Blood Pressure: 130/80 mm Hg or higher
Elevated Blood Pressure: 121/80 mm Hg to 129/80 mm Hg
Normal Blood Pressure: 120/80 mm Hg or lower
You can go to most pharmacies and get a blood pressure measurement from one of the self-service machines by the pharmacist. You can also find reliable blood pressure monitors online https://amzn.to/3pEkTnE. Take a few measurements over a few days to get an accurate overall reading for your blood pressure. People who have hypertension, abnormal or unstable blood pressure, should be measured two to three times a day.
How Do You Lower Your Blood Pressure?
There are many safe and effective activities and options to alleviate your hypertension. Medication isn’t the only way to go, so make sure you incorporate some of the options below.
If you do have to take medication, you can still incorporate all of these into your life to get off the medication sooner.
Increase Physical Activity
Research shows that increased physical activity of any kind can improve your hypertension, which means you can jump on a cardio machine, go for a walk in the park, or perform resistance training such as lifting weights.
Depending on how much intensity you bring to your physical activity, you can lower your blood pressure by the same amount that medication will.
Optimal levels for improvement are 40 minutes of reasonable intensity exercise four times per week. If 40 minutes is too long, break it into smaller chunks and work towards the optimal timings.
Lose Weight Through Diet or Reduced Eating
If you’re overweight, losing 5, 10, or more pounds can reduce your high blood pressure by similar amounts as increased physical activity. If you’re considered obese, your high blood pressure may directly result from obesity, and weight loss could be a significant factor in getting you healthy again.
Losing weight can also help reduce your chances of getting other diseases that have comorbidity with high blood pressure.
You can pick a specific diet to help you lose weight; otherwise, reduce your eating by 200-400 calories per day to start seeing improvement.
Reduce Your Stress
Chronic stress is a significant factor in high blood pressure, so finding ways to reduce stress can positively impact lowering your blood pressure and making you feel better overall.
If you’re not a stressed person, these options may not help your high blood pressure a lot, but they’re not hard and can be enjoyable anyway.
Options to consider for lowering your stress include:
- Use the sauna at your gym to reduce cardiovascular disease overall.
- Listen to meditation music during your evening or while you sleep.
- Spend 20 minutes a day deep breathing without interruption.
- Take a leisurely walk in an environment you enjoy; take your dog if you want.
- Read a novel, journal, or a book or watch a comedy on television.
Do anything you find enjoyable but ensure nobody interrupts you during your stress relief time.
Modify Your Drinking Habits
If your drinking habits include a lot of alcohol often, you may need to modify your drinking habits to cut alcohol out less or totally if that’s an option for you. Alcohol can increase your blood pressure, even if you’re healthy in all other areas.
For every 10 grams of alcohol you drink, your blood pressure raises by 1 mm Hg. If a standard drink has 14 grams of alcohol and you’re drinking many of them a night, you may find your elevated blood pressure is due to your drinking habits.
Cut Out Smoking
If you’re a smoker or around smokers, that can play a part in increasing your blood pressure. Smoking commercial tobacco can damage your blood vessels, which causes inflammation, and ultimately narrow the arteries, which restricts blood flow and generates high blood pressure.
Cut out smoking from your life using whatever methods you need, but you’ll get long-term benefits from reduced blood pressure and many other health benefits when you cut out smoking.
If you’re getting second-hand smoke and can’t get away from it, then you should invest in an air purifier like the one for large bedrooms https://amzn.to/3FHQj22 so that you can sleep and work in clean air.
Reduce Processed Food
Salt can play a big part in high blood pressure, but that salt often comes from processed foods or eating out at restaurants, rather than the amount of salt you put on your steak.
Consider replacing processed meats, pizzas, hamburgers, and restaurants visits with home-cooked meals; even if you’re cooking BBQ chicken breasts that will often be better than the processed foods, go easy on the rubs and sauces.
All the tips above are reasonably easy to do and only take a small amount of effort to implement in your life so that your hypertension is relieved, and your risk of overall cardiovascular disease is lessened.
Physical activity, diet, reduced eating, stress management, and even drinking habits can help your overall cardiovascular disease-fighting. They’re much better for you than taking blood pressure medication, which has its own side effects that you don’t want.