High blood pressure is a fairly common health issue in the world. Fewer than half of the people with high blood pressure have it under control. High blood pressure or hypertension, also known as the “silent killer “ quietly damages blood vessels and leads to health problems such as coronary heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. It is called the silent killer because it often has no symptoms.
High blood pressure occurs when blood regularly flows through the veins at a high rate of pressure. It is measured in millimeters of mercury which is abbreviated as mmHg. Blood pressure lower than 120/80mmHg is considered as normal whereas blood pressure that is 130/90mmHg or more is considered high.
Medication is the almost always an option to lower blood pressure. However, there are also ways to lower blood pressure effectively and naturally without the help of a prescription medication.
Here are ways to effectively manage hypertension ;
- Increase physical activity and exercise more : exercise is one of the best things to do to lower blood pressure. Regular exercise makes the heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in the arteries. Increasing physical activity level can as simple as ; walking, using the stairs, performing household chores, riding a bike and playing sport. This should be done regularly and work up to at least half an hour per day.
- Maintain a healthy weight : losing weight makes a difference in heart health. A study carried out in 2016 showed that, losing 5% of body mass significantly lowers blood pressure. Losing of weight helps blood vessels to expand and contract making it easier for the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood.
- Reduce salt intake : In many studies, salty has been linked to high blood pressure and stroke . About half of people with blood pressure seem to have a sensitivity to salt. It is essential and worth cutting back on salt intake . One should replace processed foods with fresh ones and try seasoning with herbs and species, rather than salt.
- Cut down on sugar and refined carbohydrates : refined carbohydrates, especially sugar , increase blood pressure. Studies have shown that low – carbohydrate diets help reduce blood pressure.
- Consume more potassium- rich foods : potassium is an essential mineral. It helps the body get rid of sodium and ease pressure on blood vessels. Foods that are high in potassium include; vegetables, especially leafy greens, tomatoes, and potatoes. Fruits such as melons, bananas, avocados and oranges. Tuna and salmon, beans, nuts , dairy products such as milk and yoghurt
- Eat dark chocolate or cocoa : dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain plant compounds(flavonoids) that help relax blood vessels , lowering blood pressure.
- Eat calcium- rich foods : calcium- rich diets are linked to healthy blood pressure levels. Dark leafy vegetables, tofu , as well as dairy products are highly recommendable.
- Reduce alcohol intake : drinking too much alcohol raises blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Heavy drinkers should slowly reduce how much they drink over one to two weeks to lower blood pressure.
- Stop smoking : the chemicals in tobacco increase blood pressure by damaging vessel walls, causing inflammation and narrowing arteries. The hardened arteries cause high blood pressure.
- Manage stress : the body goes in a constant fight – or – flight mode when it is chronically stressed. When stress sets in, one is likely to drink alcohol or eat unhealthy food that can negatively affect blood pressure. Listening to music and working less are tips to try and manage stress. Calming music helps relax the nervous system.
High blood pressure affects a large proportion of the world’s population. While medications are one way to treat the condition, following these tips can help to reduce high blood pressure effectively.