High blood pressure can be managed in a variety of ways that include medication and lifestyle changes. Doctors can prescribe medications for worst-case scenarios but they usually recommend lifestyle changes as the first steps for fighting high blood pressure. Lifestyle changes can make a significant impact on the individual’s health while also decreasing their dependencies on medications if they are using them. In addition, there are several natural methods that a patient can use to reduce their high blood pressure over time.
1) Get More Exercise: People who regularly participate in aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes a day can drop their systolic blood pressure by three to five points. Exercise also helps build endurance and contributes to an overall healthy lifestyle.
2) Increase Your Potassium: Increasing the amount of potassium intake helps with high blood pressure. Eating excess amounts of salt can raise blood pressure substantially but increasing potassium intake reduces the salt’s influence on the body. There are many foods that are high in potassium including baked potatoes with skin, bananas, orange juice, and a variety of yogurts.
3) Limit Salt Consumption: People who are diagnosed with high blood pressure need to avoid consuming excess salt. It is recommended that people with hypertension only consume about 600 milligrams of sodium a day. They should also try to eat whole foods as much as possible since most processed foods contain excess sodium. Grocery shopping instead of eating out provides a great opportunity to check the nutrition labels on food.
4) Quit Smoking: Smoking does not directly affect hypertension, but it does cause a temporary spike in people’s blood pressure. Factors such as excessive alcohol consumption and minimal exercise also contribute to high blood pressure. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption help people better regulate their blood pressure.
5) Shed the Extra Weight: Losing weight not only improves self-confidence in people, but it also helps them lower their blood pressure. Excess weight causes the heart to work so blood pressure rises. Over time consistently high blood pressure can damage the heart and create lifelong problems. Having a healthy weight provides people with the ability to enjoy a healthier lifestyle while keeping their blood pressure under control.
6) Drink Less Alcohol: If somebody is drinking more than two drinks a day, they significantly impact their blood pressure and body in a negative way. It is recommended that women have only one drink a day and men should only have two drinks a day. Drinking more than this can be harmful and have long-term consequences.
7) Learn Stress Management Techniques: There are many ways an individual can manage stress but some ways are more effective than others. Research in New Delhi has discovered that yoga and breathing exercises have a significant impact on reducing overall blood pressure. Meditation helps to reduce stress and lowers blood pressure, helping improve overall health. However, the best recommendation for people struggling with stress related high blood pressure is to discover what stress-management techniques work for them. Learning to manage stress can be done using healthy outlets like meditation, writing, therapy and group activities.
8) Cut Out Caffeinated Beverages: Caffeine is similar to smoking in that it can cause short-term spikes in blood pressure. One way to find out if somebody is sensitive to caffeine is to check their blood pressure before they have a caffeinated beverage, and then again about an hour after. If their blood pressure spikes significantly, they’re sensitive to caffeine and they should think twice about having it. Many drinks such as coffee and tea have decaf options so people with caffeine sensitivities can enjoy these popular beverages without risking their health.