If you face any complications of high blood pressure such as a stroke or heart attack, contact your physician without any delay. Do not attempt home remedies in such grave situations. If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), without any complications, the first thing to do is to calm down and lie flat. Leave aside the task you were engaged in and slowly start taking deep breaths. This stress-relieving technique helps to bring down blood pressure to a certain extent. If calming techniques don’t help, then consult a physician immediately. Additionally, do not forget to take your antihypertensive medications for blood pressure that is uncontrolled by lifestyle changes and diet.
Medication is the main option for treating high blood pressure. As blood pressure improves with lifestyle modifications, medications can be withdrawn gradually. Medications in combination with a healthy diet reduce the risk of a stroke, a heart attack, and other complications.
How do you get the bottom blood pressure number down?
When it comes to blood pressure readings, the bottom number is called diastolic blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of your arteries when your heart is in a relaxed state.
To get your diastolic blood pressure to go down, you can’t target it alone. You will need to work on getting your overall blood pressure lower.
Here are 13 lifestyle changes that can help you lower your blood pressure.
13 ways to lower your blood pressure
1. Maintain a healthy weight
2. Reduce central obesity
Having excess fat around the waistline puts you at risk of hypertension and related heart disease. You can reduce the fat around your middle through various exercises, including jogging, walking, hiking, rowing, swimming, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
3. Stay physically active
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends doing 90-150 minutes of physical activity spread throughout the week or at least 30 minutes each day for at least 5 days a week.
4. Quit smoking
Smoking causes the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels which leads to high blood pressure. Try to quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Ask your doctor if you need help figuring out the best way to do this. Joining a program designed to help you quit smoking may help.
5. Get enough sleep
6. Manage stress
Stress releases hormones that temporarily raise blood pressure. Learn to manage stress by doing activities that relax you and make you feel good. These may include simple things like taking a long walk in nature, listening to music, or pursuing hobbies you enjoy. You can also try deep breathing and meditation techniques.
7. Eat heart-healthy foods
Include heart-healthy foods in your diet:
- Whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- Fatty fish
- Lean meat
- Skinless chicken or turkey
8. Stay away from saturated and trans fats
Avoid foods that are loaded with saturated and trans fats, like fast food, fried food, and instant and frozen foods.
9. Reduce your sodium intake
Keep an eye on how much salt you eat, since salt can increase blood pressure. Limit your salt intake to 1,500 milligrams or less per day. Avoid packaged, processed foods that typically contain more sodium.
10. Increase your potassium intake
Potassium can counteract the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Include potassium-rich foods in your daily diet, like bananas and spinach
11. Avoid too much sugar
Avoid foods and drinks that contain added sugars, like soft drinks, cakes, pastries, cookies, and candies.
12. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol
Drink alcohol in moderation. If you are healthy, follow these general guidelines:
- Men: no more than 2 drinks per day
- Women: no more than 1 drink per day
13. Take medications as prescribed
Take your blood pressure medications as prescribed. To avoid skipping them by accident, set reminders on your phone to make sure you take them on time.
What are the other ways to lower blood pressure?
Lifestyle changes are effective in controlling high blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle can avoid, delay, or reduce the need for blood pressure medications.
Here are some lifestyle changes that may help to lower blood pressure:
Daily exercises: Daily exercise is an excellent way to lose fat and reduce high blood pressure. Exercising daily for 30 minutes can bring down the blood pressure by about 5-8 mmHg.
Reduce sodium intake: Most Americans consume about 3,400 mg of sodium a day, whereas the recommended daily intake of sodium is 2,300 mg with an optimal limit of less than 1,500 mg for those with high blood pressure.
Eat healthily: Avoid foods that contain a high amount of sodium, saturated fats, and cholesterol. This approach to stop hypertension by dietary control is known as the dietary approach to stop hypertension (DASH).
Increase potassium intake: Add more potassium to the diet because it regulates the heart rate and nullifies the effect of sodium in the body. Potassium-rich foods include:
- Fruits such as bananas, melons, avocadoes, and apricots
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale
- Vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Tuna and salmon
- Nuts and seeds
Abstain from heavy alcohol drinking: Alcohol in moderation does not do much harm to the body. Do not exceed one drink a day. Avoid binge drinking.
Avoid excess stress: Stress hormones or cortisol constrict the blood vessels and can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure. Stress can also result in overeating, poor sleep, and misusing drugs and alcohol.
Regular monitoring of blood pressure at home: Monitor blood pressure at home because it avoids unnecessary stress that may occur in a clinic setting.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood to the inner walls of the arteries. It shows minor fluctuations throughout the day—declining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.
The different blood pressure levels and hypertension (high blood pressure is shown in the below chart.
|Blood pressure levels||Systolic (mm Hg)||Diastolic (mm Hg)|
|Normal blood pressure||Less than 120||Less than 80|
|Elevated blood pressure or prehypertension||Between 120 to 129||Less than 80|
|Stage 1 hypertension||Between 130 to 139||Between 80 to 89|
|Stage 2 hypertension||140 or higher||90 or higher|
|Hypertensive crisis||Higher than 180||Higher than 120|
What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?
High blood pressure or hypertension is the silent killer that affects 80 million Americans. As many as 16 million Americans are unaware of the condition. Untreated hypertension can increase the risk of heart diseases or strokes. High blood pressure occurs due to the tightening of very small blood vessels called arterioles. As a result, the heart has to pump harder to overcome the resistance in the narrowed blood vessel bed. This leads to elevated pressure inside the vessels.
- High blood pressure or hypertension is when readings consistently range from 140 or higher for systolic or 90 or higher for diastolic.
- Blood pressure readings above 180/120 mmHg are dangerously high and require immediate medical attention.
High blood pressure is more likely to cause
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