Why Does Hypertension Matter
If you are in this 130/80 range, reducing your blood pressure can help protect you from heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, eye disease, and even cognitive decline. The goal of the new guidelines is to encourage you to treat your high blood pressure seriously and to take action to bring it down, primarily using lifestyle interventions. “It is well documented that lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure as much as pills can, and sometimes even more,” says Dr. Fisher.
Making those changes can be challenging. More than one woman has woken up in the morning committed to healthy eating only to be derailed by a plate of cookies on a table in the office or a dinner out with friends.
Which Is The Best High Blood Pressure Medication
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Eat More Potassium And Less Sodium
Increasing your potassium intake and cutting back on salt can also lower your blood pressure .
Potassium is a double winner: It lessens the effects of salt in your system and eases tension in your blood vessels. However, diets rich in potassium may be harmful to people with kidney disease, so talk with your doctor before increasing your potassium intake.
Its easy to eat more potassium. So many foods are naturally high in potassium. Here are a few:
- other processed snacks
Foods labeled low fat are usually high in salt and sugar to compensate for the loss of fat. Fat is what gives food taste and makes you feel full.
Cutting down on or even better, cutting out processed food will help you eat less salt, less sugar, and fewer refined carbohydrates. All of this can result in lower blood pressure.
Make it a practice to check nutrition labels. According to the Food and Drug Administration , a sodium listing of 5 percent or less on a food label is considered low, while 20 percent or more is considered high (
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Consider Cutting Back On Caffeine
Caffeine raises your blood pressure, but the effect is temporary.
In a 2017 study, the systolic blood pressure of 18 participants was elevated for 2 hours after they drank 32 ounces of either a caffeinated drink or an energy drink. Blood pressure then dropped more quickly for the participants who drank a caffeinated drink .
Some people may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. If youre caffeine-sensitive, you may want to cut back on your coffee consumption, or try .
Research on caffeine, including its health benefits, is in the news a lot. The choice of whether to cut back depends on many individual factors.
One older study indicated that caffeines effect on raising blood pressure is greater if your blood pressure is already high. This same study, however, called for more research on the subject .
If your blood pressure is very high or doesnt decrease after making these lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend prescription drugs.
They work and will improve your long-term outcome, especially if you have other risk factors . However, it can take some time to find the right combination of medications.
Talk with your doctor about possible medications and what might work best for you.
How To Bring High Blood Pressure Down Immediately In Case Of Emergency
The first step you should do is to measure the pressure. Remember that, for the person who has the symptoms of high or low blood pressure should be totally still and sitting, without speaking. If the systolic pressure exceeds 180 or the diastolic pressure is less than 120, you should be concerned. In case of not having a blood pressure monitor, you should wait for a specialist. In the meantime, you can help the person or yourself by doing the following.
Relax and breathe deeply: To help anyone with high blood pressure, help them to take a proper posture and maintain a good temperature. Also, make them breathe slowly and deeply. The nitric oxide we breathe in opens up blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Another positive effect of this oxide is that in this way you reduce the hormones that cause stress.
Transfer to a hospital: Even if you manage to control blood pressure, you must go to a hospital as soon as possible. After an increase in pressure, other problems are likely to occur. In any case, it is always better to prevent them.
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Talk With Your Doctor
High blood pressure is a serious condition that requires treatment to prevent more severe health problems.
Dont worry if youre confused by all of your medication options. Your doctor can tell you which drugs might work best for you. Together, you can put together a treatment plan to get your blood pressure under control.
Some questions to ask your doctor include:
- Do I need medication to control my blood pressure?
- Am I at high risk of certain side effects from blood pressure medication?
- Am I taking any other drugs that might interact with my blood pressure medication?
- Would a combination blood pressure medication be a good option for me?
- Do you recommend improved diet and exercise as a way to lower my blood pressure?
Ways To Manage Your Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is rising gradually but not classified as hypertension yet, making lifestyle changes can help prevent this condition and protect your heart health.
If you already have high blood pressure, you should see a healthcare provider. Your doctor will likely prescribe you medication to lower your blood pressure immediately, then create a plan to help you achieve more long-term improvements. Treatment plans for high blood pressure usually focus on improving your overall health. These plans should include efforts like:
- Weight loss
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing alcohol
These changes won’t lower your blood pressure immediately the way medications will, but over time, your doctor may be able to reduce or even stop medications if you can successfully lower your blood pressure with lifestyle changes.
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Drink Milk Coconut Water And Cranberry Juice
Milk is a superfood. It consists of potassium, calcium, and Vitamin D. These nutrients are directly proven to lower blood pressure immediately.
Coconut water is highly rich in potassium, electrolytes, and minerals. These nutrients are an immediate solution to hypertension.
Not only that, at times, deficiency of these minerals can cause hypertension.
A study in West Indian Medical Journal proved that coconut water drops the pressure by margins.
Cranberry juice is rich in proanthocyanidins. This helps in reducing high BP by dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow.
Articles published in Nature, 2016 proves that berry juice lowers systolic blood pressure.
However, milk is not suitable for everyone as people have lactose intolerance.
Thus, consultation with a doctor before the change in diet is advisable.
When Treatment Is Recommended
Everyone with high blood pressure is advised to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Whether medicine is also recommended depends on your blood pressure reading and your risk of developing problems such as heart attacks or strokes.
Your doctor will carry out some blood and urine tests, and ask questions about your health to determine your risk of other problems:
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg , but your risk of other problems is low you’ll be advised to make some changes to your lifestyle
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg and your risk of other problems is high you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 160/100mmHg you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes
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Try Meditation Or Deep Breathing
While these two behaviors could also fall under stress reduction techniques, meditation and deep breathing deserve specific mention.
Both meditation and deep breathing may activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is engaged when the body relaxes, slowing the heart rate, and lowering blood pressure.
Theres quite a bit of research in this area, with studies showing that different styles of meditation appear to have benefits for lowering blood pressure .
Deep breathing techniques can also be quite effective.
In one study, participants were asked to either take six deep breaths over the course of 30 seconds or simply sit still for 30 seconds. Those who took breaths lowered their blood pressure more than those who just sat .
Try guided meditation or deep breathing. Heres a video to get you started.
Bottom line: Both meditation and deep breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Regularly drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure over time.
Staying within the recommended levels is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure:
- men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
- spread your drinking over 3 days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week
Alcohol is also high in calories, which will make you gain weight and can further increase your blood pressure.
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Lose Weight If Youre Overweight
Weight loss is an important part of reducing high blood pressure, especially for people with obesity, as its a strong risk factor for hypertension. Dr. Mehta says people who are overweight can have between a two- to six-fold increase in risk of developing hypertension.
With less weight, the heart and arteries do not have to work as hard, says Dr. Desai. The heart muscle and the muscles in the arteries do not thicken. Thickening can lead to further increases in blood pressure because of reduced give or elasticity of blood vessels.
Talk to your doctor or registered dietitian about a safe weight loss plan that will work for you, or consider trying a support app like Noom. Even modest weight loss in these patients4 to 10 poundsis associated with a significant reduction in blood pressure levels, says Dr. Mehta. However, a 2013 study of more than 740 people found long-term reductions in blood pressure only persisted with weight loss exceeding 2% of the persons initial weightCost-Effectiveness of High Blood Pressure Interventions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 7/11/2021. .
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Monitor Your Blood Pressure At Home
Doing this alone wont lower your blood pressure, but it can help you get a good sense of where youre at on a regular basis. When youre in the doctors office, its a snapshot, Dr. Weinberg says. It may not be accurate and a true representation of you. Some patients even have elevated blood pressure when they come into the doctors office and actually may not have high blood pressure otherwise, she points out. Some patients blood pressure is up all the time and, when they come into the office, its normal, Dr. Weinberg says. Knowing where you standand sharing those numbers with your doctorcan help you work together to find the best treatment plan for you.
Its possible to do everything right and still have elevated blood pressure. When that happens, Dr. Weinberg says shell usually recommend starting medication. Sometimes, medication is necessary, she says. Keep in mind, though, that going on medication for high blood pressure doesnt mean youll be on it forever. We can always dial back later if we need to, Dr. Weinberg says.
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What Causes High Blood Pressure
In many cases, the cause of high blood pressure can be difficult to determine. At least 90% of blood pressure is defined as essential hypertension, which basically means there is no distinct cause identified, says Dr. Mehta. According to the CDC, hypertension develops over time and can often occur due to unhealthy lifestyle choices like poor diet and a lack of exercise.
According to Dr. Mehta, less than 10% of patients have identifiable causes of high blood pressure, which can include:
- Tumors in the adrenal glands
- Aorta abnormalities
According to the CDC, diabetes can increase your risk, too, and hypertension can occur during pregnancy. Some medications, such as oral contraceptives, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, corticosteroids, antidepressants, weight loss medications and antacids that contain sodium, can exacerbate hypertension as well.
Switch To Dark Chocolate
A 2010 analysis of 15 studies suggests that dark chocolate may slightly reduce blood pressure. Ried K, et al. Does chocolate reduce blood pressure? A meta-analysis. DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-8-39 If youre eating chocolate, choose dark chocolate over other types, and make sure its at least 70 percent cocoa. 12 heart-healthy foods to work into your diet. .
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Get Enough Sleep Each Night
Although sleep may not directly lower a persons blood pressure, it is vital for physical health and mental wellbeing. A lack of good quality sleep can increase the risk of chronic health conditions, some of which may increase a persons blood pressure.
The exact amount of sleep a person needs will vary from person to person. However, adults should be aiming to get between 79 hours of good quality sleep each night.
Lower Your Stress Level
Your stress level may contribute to your high blood pressure. People who are under chronic stress may try to relieve their stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking, smoking. These activities will only increase your blood pressure.
Think about the reasons why you are stressed. Once you know what is causing your stress you can work to reduce or eliminate the source. If you cant eliminate your stress, you can find a healthy way to cope.
Avoid trying to do too much. Sometimes you will have to change your priorities and expectations. There are some things in life you cant control. Instead, focus on how you react to them.
If you are having issues at work, try talking to your manager. Take steps to resolve conflicts with family or friends. Find a time during the day to relax. Take a walk or work on a hobby you love.
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What Else Will Help
If these strategies dont reduce your blood pressure, your doctor may feel its necessary to prescribe more pills. But dont despair. “No matter what you are taking now, your doctor should be able to make affordable changes in your blood pressure medications to bring down your numbers,” Dr. Bhatt says.
Cut Back On Alcoholic Beverages
People that drink modestly, so one to two drinks, may actually see a modest effect on cardiovascular events and may see modestly lower blood pressure, Dr. Osborne explains. However, if you drink anything more than that, it clearly elevates blood pressure. In fact, a recent study found that men and women who drank too much alcohol were at increased risk of high blood pressure.
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What To Do When Blood Pressure Medicine Doesn’t Bring Blood Pressure Down
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