High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, has a third name, a nickname, familiar to anyone who has the disease or has heard of it – it’s also known as the “silent killer.” That’s because high blood pressure, left untreated and unmonitored, can put a person at heightened risk of a heart, stroke, or even death – even when he or she can’t feel anything wrong with their body. High blood pressure can run silent, and it can kill.
Approximately one in three American grownups has high blood pressure, per healthline.com. While it presents no noticeable symptoms, besides perhaps the occasional headache (which could be caused by any number of other factors unrelated to high blood pressure), hypertension might be present in your body, which is why you should be getting an annual physical administered by your doctor.
Know Your Blood Pressure Numbers
How one’s blood pressure is measured is familiar to anyone who has had their blood pressure checked, which should be just about everybody you know. There are two numbers represented in the measurement: the top number is the systolic pressure, which is a measure of the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart beats; the bottom number is the diastolic pressure, a measure of the pressure in your blood vessels between beats, which is the brief moment at which your heart is at rest.
Normal blood pressure is considered to be that which is measured at 120 over 80 mm Hg or lower, with a reading between 120/80 and 130/80 considered elevated – it’s not actually classified as high blood pressure but is considered at risk for you to develop high blood pressure. If you higher than 130/80, you have hypertension.
Blood Pressure Medications
There are a wide assortment of prescription drugs manufactured aimed at lowering high blood pressure. Your doctor might prescribe two or more such drugs for you, with such a and tailormade mix designed to be most effective in treating your elevated blood pressure with minimal side effects. Some blood pressure drugs, for example, can cause drowsiness in some patients, so those are likely to be avoided.
Being prescribed blood pressure medications isn’t necessarily a lifelong sentence; some patients are able to wean themselves off them – at a physician’s sole discretion, of course – by following a monitored plan that can include a change in diet, use of certain dietary supplements, and other lifestyle changes such as consistent physical activity and exercise and stress-management techniques.
10 Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure
Following are some suggested lifestyle changes aimed at lowering your blood pressure and in the process reducing your risk of developing heart disease. Again, it is absolute must that you first discuss these and other measures with your physician. In no particular order:
- Regular exercise. Consistent, measurable physical activity such as walking, jogging, biking, and/or swimming can lower your blood pressure and strengthen your heart while trimming inches off your body. Weight increases often run in tandem to rises in blood pressure. One common recommendation is 150 minutes a week of such exercise, say, 30 minutes a day for five days.
- Healthy Diet. This goes hand in hand with regular exercise. One popular program is known as the DASH diet – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which includes eating a diet with plenty of fruits and veggies and which skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol, per Mayo Clinic. You might also consider a boost in intake of foods abundant in potassium – such as bananas, avocadoes, tuna, and leafy greens – while cutting back on sodium. A healthy diet combined with a regular exerciuse regimen can mean weight loss, and weight loss usually means a reduced blood pressure.
- Quit smoking. Not only will the avoidance of tobacco help your blood pressure return to normal (assuming you were a smoker in the first place), it will reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Cut back on alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol regularly in any quantity might raise your blood pressure, per medicalnewstoday.com, even if some forms of alcohol – i.e. red wine – are believed to provide added protection for the heart. It’s a balancing act, and, either way, moderation is in order.y.co
- Cut back on caffeine. A cup of caffeinated coffee can provide a quick boost to your blood pressure, although, per medicalnewstoday.com, people who regularly drink caffeinated coffee and tea tend to have a lesser risk of heart disease; go figure. Discuss with your doctor.
- Manage your stress better. Listening to soothing music can help relax your nervous system and reduce your blood pressure. If you are working more than 40 hours a week, consider cutting it back. Just make sure you get your work done. Think time management, an area in which almost everyone can improve.
- Natural supplements. Among those that are known to tackle blood pressure issues are garlic extract, berberine, whey protein, fish oil, and hibiscus.
- Magnesium. It can be found in both foods and supplements, and it can help by relaxing blood vessels.
- Avoid added sugar and refined carbs. That includes sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks. Yes, sacrifices must be made.
- Eat berries. They’re flavorful, packed with healthy polyphenols, and are good for your heart. Obviously, they make great snacks.