Choosing A Home Blood Pressure Monitor
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor.
- Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because they yield less reliable readings.
- Choose a monitor that has been validated. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice or find options at validatebp.org.
- When selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant woman or child, make sure it is validated for these conditions.
- Make sure the cuff fits measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
How To Manage Blood Pressure At Home
Managing blood pressure at home is about healthy living. Follow the tips above under “Six tips to help lower blood pressure” to keep your heart healthy and strong.
Track your progress toward a lower blood pressure. Ask your doctor for your blood pressure now and what number you should be trying to reach. Then, watch as the changes you’re making to food, exercise, smoking and medicine help that number fall.
Reduce Your Sodium Intake
Itâs a prime offender in raising blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends that people with hypertension keep it under 1,500 milligrams a day. Check your food labels to see how much youâre getting. If you cut back gradually, youâre less likely to notice the difference.
One way to cut back is to prepare your food at home. Seventy-five percent of your sodium intake comes from eating out and packaged foods. Use more spices for flavor instead of salt. Eating more potassium helps move sodium out of your body. A small effort can bring blood pressure down as much as two to eight points.
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Home Remedies For Managing High Blood Pressure
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force at which blood pumps from the heart into the arteries. A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mm Hg.
When blood pressure is high, the blood moves through the arteries more forcefully. This puts increased pressure on the delicate tissues in the arteries and damages the blood vessels.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about half of American adults, estimates the American College of Cardiology.
Known as a silent killer, it usually doesnt cause symptoms until theres significant damage done to the heart. Without visible symptoms, most people are unaware that they have high blood pressure.
Dr Rupali Datta Clinical Dietitian At Fortis
1. Eat small portions frequently: Sneak healthy snacking sessions in-between the major meals of the day to avoid long gaps. Eating small portions several times of the day helps in preventing the sudden drop in blood pressure that one may experience after meals. So, if you are eating three full meals a day, it would be better to rather have them distributed in to five small meals a day. This one’s a great home remedy for also people who have diabetes.
Home remedies for low blood pressure: eat small portions frequently
2. Have adequate salt: Excess salt is bad, but on the other hand it is required by your body in moderate quantities. According to the World Health Organisation, your daily diet must contain at one teaspoon of added salt besides what you derive from natural from fruits and vegetables. In summers or if you exercise daily, keep some lime water with a pinch of salt handy. Salt works like an instant pick-me-up. Make sure you do not have too much salt too that may lead to problems like water retention along with high blood pressure.
Home remedies for low blood pressure: Excess salt is bad, but it is required by your body in moderate quantitiesHome remedies for low blood pressure: Drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water every dayHome remedies for low blood pressure: Caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee may help boost your blood pressureHome remedies for low blood pressure: Chew five to six tulsi leaves every morning
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Eat Healthy Whole Foods
A nutrient-dense diet is another essential component to lowering blood pressure naturally at home. The DASH diet, Mediterranean Diet, Ketogenic diet and Paleo-style diet can all be helpful.
DASH and Mediterranean diets, generally speaking, encourage plenty of leafy greens, colorful vegetables, legumes, fruits, healthy fats, and moderate amounts of lean protein. Whole grains are also a part of these two diets while also being featured in Paleo-style eating, which puts a little more emphasis on protein.
A keto approach focuses more on high intake of healthy fats, moderate protein, leafy greens, and very low carbohydrate intake. The two factors they all share are nutrient-dense foods with useful calories and a lack of processed foods that are common in the Standard American Diet .
Processed and packaged foods, refined foods, and sugar-laden snacks are a major culprit in heart disease because they lack important nutrients like potassium and magnesium, as well as elements like fiber, that are central to healthy blood pressure and heart function. They are also loaded with sodium, which makes your body retain fluid, leading to a spike in blood pressure.
Potassium is an electrolyte that helps balance sodium levels and eases pressure on your blood vessels. Your potassium to sodium ratio should be about 2:1.
You can boost your potassium levels by eating potassium-rich foods like:
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.
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What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
Perhaps youre not sure if you have high blood pressure. If it has been a while since youve had your blood pressure taken, consider scheduling a wellness visit with your medical provider. In the meantime, here are some of the key signs of high blood pressure to watch out for:
- Bloody urine
Blood Pressure Monitoring At Home
Many people monitor their blood pressure at home. They often do this to manage or treat a certain health condition. If you monitor your blood pressure at home, keep a record, or log, of the measurements. The record shows your doctor how your blood pressure changes throughout the day. If you take medicines to control your blood pressure, it will help document if they are working. Measuring your blood pressure at home is a good way to take part in managing your health.
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Decrease Your Salt Intake
Salt is the enemy of high blood pressure, says Dr. Desai. When you eat too much salt, it increases the amount of fluid that enters the bloodstream and arteries from the surrounding tissue, which raises the pressure in the arteries.
While you may not have to remove salt from your diet completely, avoid foods very high in salt like chips, french fries, salted nuts, soups, store-bought salad dressings, processed foods and cheese.
Why Home Bp Monitoring Is The Way To Go
In order to successfully manage high BP, we need to know our true BP numbers. Because BP fluctuates throughout the day sometimes wildly and sometimes minute by minute getting our BP checked only once a year at, say, our annual physical is not enough and can actually result in mismanagement.
Too many things can affect a single BP reading taken on a single day at that annual physical bad traffic en route to the appointment or somebody cutting you off, problems with parking, having to wait too long for the doctor to see you, etc. and all of these factors can and often do affect your BP.
There is also the very real, well-documented phenomenon known as white coat syndrome, which is a spike in BP that occurs from fear or anxiety when BP is taken in a clinical setting. This syndrome results in an inflated BP reading, which can lead to overtreatment on the part of the doctor writing the prescription if it is not recognized.
While hypertension is not generally curable, the good news is that its a risk factor that can be modified. In other words, treating hypertension can prevent complications and allow a person to live a longer, healthier life.
Angela Price, M.D.
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Measure Your Blood Pressure On A Regular Basis
Measuring your blood pressure is an important step toward keeping a healthy blood pressure. Because high blood pressure and elevated blood pressure often have no symptoms, checking your blood pressure is the only way to know for sure whether it is too high.
You can measure your blood pressure at home with a home blood pressure monitor, or you can visit your doctor or nurse to have your blood pressure checked.
If you learn that you have high blood pressure, you should take steps to control your blood pressure to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Eat More Foods High In Magnesium
A small study in the International Journal of Hypertension found magnesium supplementation can reduce blood pressure in small amountsNguyen H, Odelola OA, Rangaswami J, Amanullah A. A Review of Nutritional Factors in Hypertension Management. International Journal of Hypertension. 2013 698940. . Talk to your doctor before taking magnesium supplements, especially if you have kidney disease. You can also safely incorporate high-magnesium foods into your diet. Dr. Desai recommends foods like leafy green vegetables and unsalted almonds.
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Sudden Spike In Blood Pressure Can Be Serious
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force that blood applies to your arterial walls as it pumps from your heart throughout your body. It also represents how hard your heart is working to push the blood. When blood pressure is higher, it means the heart must work harder to push blood through your system. In turn, the risk of heart disease or heart attack increases.
According to 2014 data, high blood pressure accounts for roughly 1,100 deaths every day in the United States, and only about half of all people with high blood pressure have it under control.
Disturbingly, most people may not even be aware that they have the condition, or are at least on the verge of becoming hypertensive. Some risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- Eating a high sodium/low potassium diet
- Not getting enough exercise/physical activity
- Overactive thyroid
- Overactive adrenal glands
A normal blood pressure is in the range of 120 mmHg/80 mmHg . The higher number represents systolic blood pressure and the lower represents diastolic. Prehypertension arises when systolic and diastolic pressures exceed these numbers, and hypertensionor high blood pressurearises when blood pressure reaches 140 mmHg/90mmHg.
Sometimes, however, something causes blood pressure to spike unexpectedlyand the higher your resting blood pressure is, the greater your risk of suffering a severe cardiac event becomes. Therefore, knowing how to lower blood pressure fast is very important.
How Do I Measure My Blood Pressure
Before you check your blood pressure, you should:
- Wait 30 minutes after eating or using caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco products.
- Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder.
- Rest for 3 to 5 minutes and do not talk.
- Sit in a comfortable position, with your legs and ankles uncrossed and your back supported.
- Elevate your left arm to the level of your heart. Place it on a table or desk and sit still.
- Wrap the cuff around the upper part of your bare arm. The cuff should be smooth and snug. There should be enough room for you to slip one fingertip under the cuff.
- Check the placement of the cuff. The bottom edge of it should be 1 inch above the crease of your elbow.
Below are the steps to take to use an aneroid monitor.
Below are the steps to take to use a digital monitor.
- Turn the power on to start the unit.
- On the automatic models, the cuff will inflate by itself with a push of a button. On the manual models, you have to inflate the cuff. You do this by squeezing the rubber bulb at a rapid rate.
- After the cuff inflates, the automatic device will slowly let air out.
- Look at the display screen to get your blood pressure reading. It will show your systolic and diastolic pressures. Write down the measurement in your record. The systolic pressure goes in front of the diastolic pressure. For example, 120/80.
- Press the exhaust button to release all of the air from the cuff.
- If you need to repeat the measurement, wait 2 to 3 minutes before starting.
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Womens Blood Pressure Rises Faster And Earlier New Study Shows
That puts them at risk for a health emergency if they dont control their blood pressure, but less than half, 48%, regularly measure it at home a simple habit that can help keep levels in a healthy range, said Dr. Deborah Levine, an associate professor in the University of Michigan Medical School.
Unfortunately, it was not a surprise, Levine, who helped design and analyze the poll, told TODAY.
One never knows what will motivate an individual patient.
Doctors play an enormous role in encouraging people to monitor their blood pressure at home and patients who were instructed to do so were more likely to follow through, Levine said. A doctors encouragement was the No. 2 reason the poll respondents cited for making it a habit, only behind wanting to be as healthy as possible.
But more than a third said their doctors had never encouraged it.
Buy A Blood Pressure Monitor
Pharmacies and online merchants sell a variety of blood pressure monitors. Monitors typically range in price from $50 to $100, although a higher price doesn’t necessarily correlate to better quality. Ask your health insurance company whether it will cover part or all of the cost.
When shopping for a blood pressure monitor, look for these features:
Buy a monitor that goes around your upper arm. Dr. Zusman doesn’t recommend wrist or finger monitors because they aren’t as accurate.
An automatic monitor is easiest to use, because it doesn’t require a stethoscope and the cuff inflates by itself. Manual monitors require you to squeeze a bulb to inflate the cuff, which can be hard to do if you have arthritis.
Choose a monitor that meets standards for your age and health conditions according to an organization such as the European Society of Hypertension, dabl Educational Trust, or the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation . Each organization has posted its list of approved devices on its website.
Make sure the cuff fits your arm. If it’s too large or too small, the reading won’t be accurate.
Check that the numbers on the dial or display are large enough for you to read clearly.
Determine what other features you want in a blood pressure monitor. Some monitors will take an average of your last few readings, record your measurements over time, and send them to your doctor via your smartphone.
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Reduce Stress Through Meditation And Rest
Chronic stress can lead to chronic elevations in the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, says Dr. Desai. These hormones constrict the arteries and cause weight gain, which further increases blood pressure.
He recommends reducing stress by using breathing exercises, practicing meditation, completing physical exercise, practicing yoga, logging quality sleep, taking breaks throughout the day, spending time in nature, listening to music and eating a balanced diet.
What Else Can Help
In addition to adding hypertension-lowering drinks to your diet, you can try the following to help lower your blood pressure:
- Get moving. Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine may be as effective at lowering blood pressure as some medications. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity for health benefits.
- Shed excess pounds. If youre overweight or obese, your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Even losing just a few pounds can help lower your blood pressure.
- Check out the DASH diet. The DASH diet, which was specially designed to prevent and treat hypertension, emphasizes unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Quit smoking. Each cigarette you smoke triggers a short-term increase in your blood pressure. Over the long-term, tobacco use can harden your arteries which, in turn, can lead to high blood pressure.
- Limit stress. Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Avoid stressors when you can, and try to find healthy ways to manage your stress. While not all sources of stress can be eliminated, setting aside time for relaxation may help calm your mind and lower your blood pressure.
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What You Can Do To Lower Your Blood Pressure
What isn’t a mystery is that lifestyle changes can play a big part in reducing and controlling blood pressure levels. These include cutting back on dietary salt, quitting smoking, eating a plant-based diet, exercising regularly, losing excess weight, and managing stress.
Here are a few simple suggestions from 500 Time-Tested Home Remedies and the Science Behind Them for enhancing your diet and managing stress.
Eat Fish. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil from fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel, and salmon have been shown to reduce blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. Here’s an easy recipe for a quick snack or lunch that’ll provide omega-3s:
- 1 can oil-packed sardines
- 12-16 whole-grain crackers
- Lemon wedges
- Sprigs of parsley