Reducing High blood pressure Naturally
This would be a very short and precise chapter and would be simply listing & highlighting ten effective ways to reduce or prevent high blood pressure. Some of these guidelines might have been mentioned previously in other chapters here is a quick reminder.
- Make sure your blood pressure is properly checked to prevent false diagnosis but for those that are already known hypertensives It is important to monitor blood pressure at home regularly and of course regular visits to the doctor is also key in controlling blood pressure. For well controlled blood pressure, visits to the doctor could be every six to 12 months but for poorly controlled blood pressure there should be more frequent hospital visits.
- Weight loss: As we have discussed previously blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Weight loss is by far one of the most effective lifestyle change for controlling blood pressure.
- Regular Exercise: Of course we know that to shed excess weight it is important to combine healthy eating with regular exercise as they go hand in hand. Regular physical activity of at least 30 – 35 minutes on most days of the week can reduce the blood pressure by about 5 -9 millimeters of mecury. As always consistency is key to achieving this. The ideal exercises for lowering blood pressure include walking, cycling, jogging, swimming and dancing.
- Eating a healthy & balanced meal: Diets rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low fat can lower the blood pressure. It is important to monitor what you eat, how much of it, when and why. Also, read labels of foodstuffs to help stick to a healthy eating plan.
- Still on the diet, it is essential to reduce sodium in the diet as this can reduce blood pressure by about 2 to 8 mmHg. Also like we have previously discussed, foods rich in potassium such as fruit and vegetables are highly encouraged as they can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure.
- Reduction in Alcohol intake: alcohol should not be taken in excess as excessive alcohol has no beneficial effects. Instead it can actually raise the blood pressure significantly and reduce the effectiveness of antihypertensives. Therefore as earlier stated, women generally should not take more than one drink a day and men should not take more than 2 drinks a day (By drinks I mean bottles of alcohol).
- Yes you guessed it, it is a no brainer to quit smoking. Smoking has very harmful effects on the body. Apart from raising the blood pressure it can also predispose to malignant conditions such as lung cancer.
- Avoid stress: Occasional stress is a very important contributor to high blood pressure. It is essential to identify what causes you to feel stressed and either eliminate it or try to cope with it in a healthier way. This is because some people react to stress by unhealthy eating, smoking and taking alcohol which are all risk factors for high blood pressure.
- Being regular on antihypertensive medication: A lot of people find it bothersome to keep swallowing pills on a daily basis. I must confess even as a doctor I hate swallowing pills but when I know it is in the best interest of my health I put in a lot of effort.Known hypertensive patient should try as much as possible to be compliant with their antihypertensive medication to ensure their blood pressure is well controlled.
- Stay away from caffeine if hypertensive or at least cut back on it. This is because caffeine can significantly raise the blood pressure especially in people who rarely consume it. Before I end this chapter I would like to mention that supportive friends and family can help to improve your health and cope properly with high blood pressure.