People often complain about their high blood pressure readings and the different medications they have to take in order to normalize their blood pressure. Individuals with high blood pressure, suffer from different heart ailments including stroke, heart failure and heart attack. Millions of deaths across the globe are attributed to high blood pressure.
Understanding Blood Pressure
High blood pressure and its negative effects on health have become a routine part of our daily conversations. But, the truth is that most people are unaware of the actual dangers posed by high blood pressure or the factors which are responsible for causing blood pressure levels to increase. Hence, a lot of people do not take proper measures, to lower their high blood pressure.
The pressure the blood exerts on the arterial walls, as it courses through our system is called blood pressure. If the blood exerts excessive pressure on the walls of the arteries over a period of time, it leads to high blood pressure. Blood pressure readings are constantly fluctuating. Sometimes a person may suffer from low blood pressure while there are instances when the blood pressure shoots up suddenly. Stress, lack of sleep and emotional turmoil can cause our blood pressure readings to increase considerably.
Measuring Blood Pressure
To measure blood pressure, an instrument called the sphygmomanometer is used. This device consists of an inflatable pressure cuff and a mercury or manual measuring device. A person with normal blood pressure will have reading of 120/80. The higher number is called the systolic blood pressure, while the lower reading is called diastolic blood pressure.
It is very important to get your blood pressure measured regularly so that you can take remedial measures to combat a sudden spurt in blood pressure readings.
Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
There are many ways to lower rising blood pressure levels. Excessively high blood pressure can even result in death. Some of the methods which an individual can adopt to lower extremely high blood pressure levels, without depending solely on medications, have been discussed in this article.
Eat a High Fiber Diet
One of the best ways to combat high blood pressure is to eat a diet that is high in fiber. People who eat a high fiber diet have been able to notice a significant reduction in their systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. Eating a diet that is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains can not only help in lowering blood pressure levels but also in significantly improving one’s overall health. To help reduce blood pressure, the fiber content in your diet should ideally be between 3.8g to 125gms.
Eat a Healthy Diet
People who follow unhealthy dietary practices are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure than others. In fact, eating excessive amounts of junk food and other high fatty foods have been known to increase blood pressure levels significantly. Eating a diet that is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while cutting back on cholesterol laden foods and saturated fats can bring down your blood pressure reading by a whopping 14 mm Hg.
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Monitor closely the food that you eat on a daily basis. The best way to do this is by keeping a food diary. Write down all the foods that you eat on a daily basis for one week. This way you will know the foods that you should eat more and the foods you should cut out from your diet completely.
Become a smart shopper and spend time reading the food labels of the products you buy regularly. You may be shocked to know that many of the so called ‘healthy’ foods are in fact loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol.
Exercise To Lower Blood Pressure
If you are a couch potato it’s high time you quit your lazy ways and start exercising. The relationship between exercise and blood pressure readings is a well known fact. People who exercise regularly have a lower blood pressure reading than people who avoid exercising. To lower your blood pressure levels by 9 mm Hg, you need to do moderate intensity exercises for half an hour every single day.
Even light exercises like walking can have massive health benefits and can lower the blood pressure significantly. No matter how hard pressed for time you may be, ensure that you squeeze in at least ten minutes of exercise every day.
Lower the Sodium Intake
The biggest enemy for high blood pressure patients is salt. People who eat foods which are high in salt are actually increasing the risk of suffering from high blood pressure. The sodium intake should be limited to around 2300mg or less per day. Reducing sodium intake can lower blood pressure levels by 8mm Hg.
The best way to lower sodium intake is to avoid salty food, eat fewer processed food items, add herbs instead of salt to your food and keep a close watch on your daily sodium intake.
Cut Back On Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption can increase blood pressure readings. Women who have more than one alcohol beverage every day and men who have at least two alcoholic beverages are at a greater risk of suffering from high blood pressure. Drinking an alcoholic beverage once in a while is perfectly alright; only ensure that you do not drink on a daily basis. Binge drinking even if it is once in a blue moon can make you the perfect candidate for high blood pressure.
Reduce Your Caffeine Consumption
Drinking extra strong coffee, or drinking more than one cup of coffee a day can cause your blood pressure levels to spiral. The best way to understand the detrimental effects of coffee on blood pressure is to do a blood pressure reading before drinking coffee and take another reading about half an hour after drinking coffee. You will notice that your blood pressure readings have increased significantly. Instead of coffee, switch to fresh fruits juices or even aerated water if you are feeling thirsty.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Burgeoning stress levels raises blood pressure readings. There are many ways to combat stress from mentally switching off, to practicing yoga and meditation. Practice stress reduction methods to protect yourself from the dangers posed by high blood pressure.