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High blood pressure or hypertension is known as the ‘silent killer because it sometimes kills before you have any symptoms.
Millions of people have high blood pressure due to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, as many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults have HBP. If you are one of them keep reading to discover how to lower your blood pressure naturally.
Luckily, high blood pressure is mostly due to poor lifestyle choices.
This is good news because it means by making simple changes in your life you can keep your blood pressure normal without taking pharmaceuticals.
Blood pressure medication artificially lowers your BP by masking the symptoms. Pharmaceuticals never get to the cause of high blood pressure.
First, let's define what high blood pressure is, and the different types of high blood pressure.
What is High Blood Pressure?
The definition of blood pressure from the American Heart Association is:
“Blood pressure is the amount of force exerted on your arteries when your heart beats.
When the force of the blood pushing against your artery walls is too great, this causes high blood pressure. That high pressure is what causes a long list of health concerns.
There are other things that can cause high blood pressure besides lifestyle choices. For instance, if you are excited or nervous, your blood pressure will rise. When we sleep or rest, blood pressure lowers.
Chronic high blood pressure is unnatural. But, if you eat well, exercise, and make wise choices in your day-to-day life, you can avoid it completely.
How High is Too High?
You may be wondering exactly how high is too high when you are testing your blood pressure. Your blood pressure is measured by looking at two numbers. How your systolic and diastolic pressure relate to each other determines whether your HBP is high, normal or low.
- Your systolic reading measures the level of your blood pressure when your heart beats while pumping blood throughout your body.
- Your diastolic measurement indicates your blood pressure when your heart is resting (between beats).
- Your blood pressure is read as your systolic over your diastolic readings, measured as millimeters of mercury.
For example, if your blood pressure reads 118/76, you can consider this a normal blood pressure reading.
When an adult's systolic pressure is below 120, and the diastolic pressure is below 80, your blood pressure is normal.
Consult the following table to understand the different stages of high blood pressure in adults.
If either of your systolic or diastolic numbers fall anywhere in the above table, there is a problem.
You don't need both systolic and diastolic numbers in the chart above to show the presence of pre-hypertension or high blood pressure. (If you suffer from chronic kidney disease or diabetes, you should always keep your blood pressure below 130/80.)
If your number seems a little high, remember there are certain factors that can cause a temporary rise in your blood pressure.
For example, smoking and stress can spike your pressure. Cold temperatures, caffeine, exercise, and some medicines can also temporarily raise your numbers and give you an “artificial” reading
Types of High Blood Pressure
HBP is either Primary or Secondary.
If your high blood pressure develops over years, you suffer from primary blood pressure.
Secondary blood pressure is an entirely different condition.
It is sometimes called situational because your BP is higher in some situations than others.
Secondary HBP can also develop as a side effect of certain medicines. Other medical conditions can also cause secondary blood pressure.
When you remove the cause, secondary HBP almost always resolves itself quickly.
Primary blood pressure can be treated with pharmaceutical drugs. Yet, many of the popular and traditional blood pressure medicines can lead to debilitating side effects.
If you want to know if you have hypertension, you should take your BP regularly and at different times of the day because BP is not static. It is dynamic, meaning it fluctuates during the course of a day.
High Blood Pressure Symptoms
The Danger of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can cause long-lasting health issues. Worse yet, it can kill you. These are a few of the diseases of blood flow that puts too much pressure on your arterial walls:
- Heart attack
- Heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of your arteries)
- Kidney damage
- Vision loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- Memory loss
- Fluid in the lungs
- Peripheral artery disease
Low Blood Pressure is Not Problematic
If You Don't Have Symptoms
Unlike HBP, low blood pleasure usually does have symptoms.
Dizziness and fainting can be signs that your blood pressure is too low. As long as your blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg, you are experiencing optimal blood pressure.
If your blood pressure drops lower than that ideal number in both your systolic and diastolic measurements, there still usually isn't a problem unless there are accompanying symptoms.
Some signs that you should check your blood pressure are:
- Lack of concentration
- Cold, clammy skin
- Blurry vision
- Unusual thirst
- Just remember, low blood pressure can sometimes be dangerous. It is not usually deadly like HBP, but you should still be checking your BP frequently to make sure it's within a healthy range.
If you do have low blood pressure, here are a few health problems you could experience.
- Low blood sugar
- Under-active thyroid
- Allergic reactions
- Neurological disorders
- Septic shock
- Heart problems
- Organ failure
How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally
Most health experts agree that changes in diet and lifestyle the safest and most efficient way to lower HBP. This is due to the fact that popular blood pressure medications have nasty side effects. Diuretics, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and other prescribed drugs can cause severe reactions.
Diuretics can increase your risk of gout and annoying skin conditions as well as cause harm to muscle function.
Beta-blockers can cause dizziness, fatigue, heart problems and even fainting.
ACE inhibitors can cause a chronic dry cough. And sometimes they reduce your blood pressure to levels that weaken your kidneys.
That is why it is so important to change your diet and lifestyle if you have high blood pressure.
These diet and lifestyle changes will help get your blood pressure back on track and cause other health benefits as well.
Dietary Changes to Lower Blood Pressure
Change your diet to include more potassium-rich foods like (avocados, cooked lima beans, bananas,) Eat a diet high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, cold-water fish, and lots of vegetables and fruits. Eat more celery, garlic, onions, and oils high in omega-3 fatty acids, but each much less animal fat. Stop eating fatty, fried foods and sugar.
The DASH Diet was developed by the US National Institutes of Health to lower blood pressure without using medication.
Eat Potassium-Rich Foods
Modern processed diets tend to cause a potassium deficiency. This is an issue because potassium can reduce the negative effect of sodium on your BP.
But, avocados, bananas, artichokes, and acorn squash are very high in potassium, so add them to your diet.
People with high BP can benefit by adding 4 ounces (about 1 cup) of celery juice to their daily diet. Celery contains a chemical, 3-n-butyl phthalide, that smoothes the muscles lining blood vessels. This increases the diameter of the blood vessel and allows for easier blood flow.
Cut Back on Salt
Processed foods are loaded with salt and unfortunately excess salt is not healthy for your heart. It is possible to drop your blood pressure quickly simply by limiting your salt intake. Start reading food labels, and stop adding salt to your food.
Drink Less Alcohol
Infrequent, small amounts of alcohol can actually lower your blood pressure. But, more than 1 drink a day can raise your blood pressure. Also, you should note that alcohol can also lower the effectiveness of many blood pressure medications.
Lifestyle Changes to Lower Your Blood Pressure
Making some simple changes in your daily schedule can help you regulate a healthy blood pressure.
The following lifestyle suggestions have proven to lower blood pressure. Executing 2 or 3 of these healthy habits can lead to a significant lowering of your high blood pressure. Combine them with the dietary tips above and you are virtually guaranteed to return your blood pressure to normal.
Stress causes high blood pressure. Stress can come from external sources like your job, family issues, financial problems, etc, But stress can also come from lack of good nutrition, excess weight, lack of sleep or exercise.
Most external stress is caused primarily by your perception or how you handle stressful situations. It is not caused by the situation or event itself. Your ability to accept the happenings of life will have a huge impact on your body. So no matter how difficult things, get, try to relax. The best way to relax is through yoga nidra, yoga at home, meditation, mindfulness, prayer, deep breathing or exercise.
Additionally, some people treat stress by smoking, drinking alcohol or eating junk food. Keep a stress journal, find out what is triggering the stress in your life, and act accordingly.
Smoking shortens your life expectancy. It can lead to lung cancer and other health problems as well. Even smoking just 1 cigarette raises your blood pressure for up to an hour after you are through smoking.
Make Exercise a Habit
You can lower your blood pressure by 5 to 10 mm Hg simply by exercising regularly. You can do this by exercising for just 30 minutes a day.
Being overweight can lead to sleep apnea. This raises your blood pressure. Your blood pressure often increases as your weight does. A loss of only 10 pounds (4.5 kg) can significantly lower your blood pressure. You can easily lose extra weight with Ayurveda
Meal planning can help to make your life easier and it can also help you include the nutrients that may influence blood pressure.
Keep a Food Journal
How can you know what you are truly eating unless you keep track of it? A food journal is a great way to keep track of everything you are putting into your mouth.
Diffuse essential oils of Lavender, Marjoram, and Rose in your living environment.
Celery, beet, and carrot or cucumber, spinach, and parsley. Add a little raw garlic and raw turmeric to vegetable juices. Drink 8 ounces a day. More on Juicing For Weight Loss here.
Consider adding these supplements to your lifestyle: Magnesium, Vitamin C, Zinc, Calcium, and Flaxseed
Here is a wonderful guided meditation to lower your blood pressure naturally you can do before bed.
Hypertension and Ayurveda
Ayurveda treats hypertension according to each person's dosha (body/mind) type. Virender Sodhi, M.D., Director of the Ayurvedic Medical Clinic in Bellevue, Washington, says that hypertension is found most often in Pitta and Kapha types due to a combination of genetics and lifestyle.
Dr. Sodhi puts his patients on a diet low in salt, cholesterol, and triglycerides. He also recommends yoga breathing exercises to help relax the body and stimulate the cardiovascular system to reduce hypertension.
Herbs for Hypertension
According to Dr. Sodhi, the most important Ayurvedic herbs for treating high blood pressure are Sankhapuspi and Ashwagandha. But nature has blessed us with other herbal hypertensive remedies that you can read more about here.
How to Monitor Your Blood Pressure At Home
If you feel your blood pressure is high, schedule an appointment with your health care practitioner for a check-up. But you don't need to be an expert to properly check your own blood-pressure. Luckily, it's quick and painless, involves no needles or drugs and you can do it at home. You can also pick up a home-testing kit at Amazon, your local pharmacy or a medical supply store.
What should you do if your blood pressure is high when you check it at home? Unless it is extremely high, wait for 30 to 60 minutes and check it again. Consider the above factors for why your reading may not be a true indicator of your pressure. If you get several high readings in a row, call your doctor immediately.
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The information presented here is in no way meant to serve as medical advice. If you are experiencing symptoms of any kind, please consult with your physician.