Blood pressure is like trust. It’s silent, vital to good health and if abused, it can be deadly.Frank K Sonnenberg
High blood pressure or hypertension is a silent killer. It is a major condition that can lead to heart problems and stroke. Ideally, Blood Pressure should be lower than 120/80.
Reasons responsible for High Blood Pressure
Eating too much salt, being overweight, sedentary lifestyle or even taking certain medications can cause high blood pressure as a side effect.
One in 5 Young adults in India have high blood pressure and one in 3 young adults have high blood pressure in the USA.
Even I have faced blood pressure issues. It all started when I began experiencing severe headaches. Initially, I thought that the headache must be due to acidity, so I took fruit salts like ENO but they didn’t seem to work. I went to a nearby clinic to get a check-up. The doctor took my blood pressure as a routine check and it was 145/90. The doctor prescribed some drugs that would help lower my Blood Pressure. I knew that once I start with the medication, I’ll be dependant on them. I consulted my father, who even at the age of 72 is fine and dandy. He gave me a few methods on how to control high blood pressure which I want to share with you.
Ways to lower blood pressure levels
- Increase activity and exercise more
Increasing activity also increases our heart and breathing rates. Over time our heart gets stronger and pumps with less effort. 40 minutes moderate to vigorous physical activity sessions 3 to 4 times per week is required. You don’t have to run a marathon. We can increase our activity in the following ways:
- Using the stairs instead of a lift where possible
- Walking to nearby places instead of driving
- Doing household chores
- 10000 steps per day is required.
- Lose weight
Try to lose weight if you’re overweight. Cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates.
- Eat more potassium and less sodium
Increase your potassium intake and cutting back on salt also lower your blood pressure. Potassium lessens the effect of salt in your system.
Diets rich in potassium may be harmful to the kidney, so talk to your doctor before increasing potassium intake. Foods naturally high in potassium are:
Milk, yoghurt, fish. Fruits like bananas, apricots, avocados and oranges.
- Eat less or no processed food
These foods have extra salt so avoid eating them. Eat home-cooked food.
- Stop smoking
Smoking causes an immediate but temporary increase in blood pressure and increase in heart rate. Later on, it causes high blood pressure.
- Mid day Naps According to cardiologist Dr Manolis Kallistratos from Greece 30 to 50 minutes mid day nap lowers your blood pressure to 5mm hg. Friends do not feel guilty if you sleep for 50 minutes in afternoon.
- Reduce stress
We are living in a stressful era. Workplace and family demands are now contributing to stress. But we have to find ways to de-stress ourselves which is important for our health and blood pressure. Read a book, watch a comedy show, listen to music or just dance. This will help reduces stress.
- Yoga and meditation
Yoga and meditation are very helpful in reducing stress. Yoga comprises of breathing control, posture which is very effective in reducing stress and blood pressure.
- Lastly, take prescription medication
If your blood pressure is very high or doesn’t decrease even on making these lifestyle changes, take prescribed drugs. Drugs have side effects so lifestyle modifications are the cornerstone for treatment of high blood pressure.
So readers, what are you waiting for? Start becoming active from now. If I can lower my blood pressure you can also. We just need to chalk out a plan and follow it meticulously.
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