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 the 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 As blood pressure improves with lifestyle modifications, medications can be withdrawn gradually.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.
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 the resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.
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
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 healthy: Avoid foods that contain a high amount of sodium, saturated fats, and cholesterol. This approach to stop hypertension by dietary control is known as dietary approaches 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.
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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
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