Statistics show that around half of the American population has high blood pressure. High blood pressure (also hypertension) results from genetic, lifestyle factors or a combination of the two. If left untreated for a long time, hypertension can be dangerous. It raises the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you are unable to bring the level down naturally, you might need high blood pressure medication. Actually, nearly 14% of the individuals considered to be suffering from hypertension require medical help. However, if your blood pressure results from unhealthy habits, a few simple changes will help eliminate or reduce the need for prescription medication. These are top 5 steps that will help cure high blood pressure.
Work to maintain a healthier weight:
Weight is among the vital determiners of hypertension. If your BMI is above 25 or 28, shedding a few pounds will make a big difference in your life. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight and one above 30 is considered obese. The correlation also works both ways. A study conducted in the year 2014 showed that most individuals who gained just 5% of body weight saw a slight increase in their blood pressure. The blood pressure increase was higher among individuals who packed more fat around their bellies. You should now start seeing why you should work to shed those extra pounds.
Most healthy individuals get around 150 minutes of moderate intensity workouts per week. But if you need to reduce your blood pressure, you should aim to get at least 40 minutes of high intensity – moderate to vigorous – workouts 3-4 times in a week. Choose an exercise that will not only help you break the sweat but also one that you can manage to do several times in a week without fail.
You can go to the nearby gym for one hour each day for classes or take a brisk walk around your neighbourhood – choose what fits your lifestyle. When starting from scratch and your level of fitness is seemingly intimidating, start slow. A few minutes of easy exercise each day will lower your blood pressure.
Reduce salt intake:
According to a 2016 Centre for Disease Control and Prevention report, Americans eat a lot of salt. That is because most restaurants add a lot of it in their foods. That can be confusing to customers who are already making smart choices because high-sodium foods do not taste salty at times. To see a big difference, the restaurants have to start using lesser salt. However, until then you have to cook most of the food you eat so that you can monitor the amount of salt you consume in a day. And whenever you eat out, skip the salty toppings such as cheese and order sauces and dressings on the side.
Reduce your calorie intake:
A better and simpler way of reducing salt intake relates to reducing the overall food intake. Whenever you eat 25% more food, you will most probably consume 25% additional salt. Even more, consuming large amounts of food than you need leads to weight gain, which is known to raise the blood pressure. The first thing you should cut out is processed foods. Around 75% of the salt, which the average Americans consume, comes from the common packaged foods such as salad dressings, canned soups, cereal and bread, cured meats and cold cuts.
A 2014 study showed that individuals who consumed probiotics (healthy bacteria that exist in fermented foods such as yogurt) managed to reduce their systolic blood pressure by 3.6 points (the average) and the diastolic pressure by 2.4 points as compared to the individuals who did not. Individuals with blood pressure above 130/85 experienced greater reductions after consuming probiotic supplements or foods for more than two months. Blood pressure above 120/80 is elevated. Experts believe that probiotics have modest effects on the blood pressure. However, probiotics play an important role in the overall heart health.
Symptoms and signs of high blood pressure:
If you need a list of the signs and symptoms of hypertension, you will rarely find them. Why? Because, there are none. Hypertension is a silent killer. Therefore, if you are ignoring your blood pressure because you believe that signs or symptoms have not alerted you, you are definitely taking dangerous chances with your life.