How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure Naturally Over Time
Now that weve discussed why theres no fail-proof, safe, and fast way to lower blood pressure, remember, there are still many ways to lower your blood pressure over time. Here are some simple recommendations:
Exercise most days of the week. Exercise is the most effective way to lower your blood pressure. Being physically active at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week goes a long way toward keeping or getting your blood pressure under control.
Consume a low-sodium diet. Too much sodium causes blood pressure to rise. The AHA recommends keeping your daily sodium intake to less than 2 grams, but keeping it less than 1.5 grams is even better! The DASH diet provides a low-sodium eating plan for you to use as an example.
Limit alcohol intake to no more than 1 to 2 drinks per day. Drinking more than average1 drink for women and 2 drinks for mencan cause your blood pressure to rise. Plus, alcohol can cause you to pack on the pounds, which can also lead to an increase in blood pressure.
Make stress reduction a priority. Stressful situations can cause your blood pressure to go up temporarily. But if you continue to be stressed, your blood pressure can remain high. Find calming activities you can do every day to help you relieve stress. Coloring, walking outside, listening to relaxing music, and even taking a warm bath can help you keep you lower your stress levels.
What You Need To Know
- Twenty percent of patients with hypertension are resistant.
- Resistant hypertension may have no symptoms at all for months or years, but then can cause heart attack, stroke, and vision and kidney damage.
- Some people have pseudoresistant hypertension, which is caused by other factors, such as conflicting medications or white coat hypertension .
- Pseudoresistant hypertension is important to diagnose and treat.
- Assessment and treatment of resistant hypertension includes addressing any identifiable conditions or causes and adjusting medications in a personalized way.
How Can You Manage Your High Blood Pressure
Treatment of high blood pressure often starts with lifestyle changes, including decreasing salt in your diet, losing weight if necessary, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol use, and regular exercise.
In addition to lifestyle changes, medications are often used to lower blood pressure. There are several types of medications that treat high blood pressure with each type of medication having benefits and risks that should be carefully weighed by you and your health care provider. Most people take more than one medication in order to bring their blood pressure down to their treatment goal.
Your blood pressure medication should begin to work within days. However, because high blood pressure is a long-lasting medical condition that often has little or no symptoms, remembering to take your medications can be a challenge. Combination medicines, long-acting or once-a-day medications, may be used to decrease the burden of taking numerous medications and help ensure medications regularly. Once started, the medication should be used until your doctor tells you to stop.
Controlling your blood pressure should be part of a healthy living plan and lifelong task. The damage that high blood pressure causes your internal organs does not cause any symptoms until serious damage has been done.
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Learning To Cope With Stress Can Help
Stress and hypertension have often been linked, but researchers are still looking into a direct relationship between the two. Still, the best advice to hypertensive patients: Try to relax.
When you are stressed, your body sends stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. These hormones create a temporary spike in blood pressure, causing your heart to beat faster and blood vessels to narrow. When the stressful situation is over, blood pressure goes back to its normal level.
Chronic stress, however, may cause your body to stay in this highly-charged state longer than natural.
While stress itself may or may not affect blood pressure, how you cope with stress does. For instance, overeating, smoking and drinking alcohol in response to stressful situations are direct causes of sustained high blood pressure. On the flip side, healthier coping mechanisms like exercising, practicing yoga and meditating can all help lower blood pressure.
Measuring Your Blood Pressure At Home
You can also diagnose yourself with hypertension by measuring your blood pressure at home. If readings are high over two visits at the doctors office, and if your blood pressure is higher than 135/85 mmHg when properly measured at home, then the diagnosis of hypertension can be made. This requires you to measure your blood pressure twice a day, in the morning and evening, for one week. Pay no attention to the measurements from the first day. Measuring blood pressure at home requires accurate equipment and proper measuring techniques. Measure the blood pressure of others in your house their blood pressure may also be high.
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What Are The Treatments For High Blood Pressure
You will work with your provider to come up with a treatment plan. It may include only the lifestyle changes. These changes, such as heart-healthy eating and exercise, can be very effective. But sometimes the changes do not control or lower your high blood pressure. Then you may need to take medicine. There are different types of blood pressure medicines. Some people need to take more than one type.
If your high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or medicine, treating that condition or stopping the medicine may lower your blood pressure.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
What Causes High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually develops over time. It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and having obesity, can also increase the risk for developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can also happen during pregnancy.
You can manage your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems that may affect your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
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What’s The Impact Of Having High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases such as:
- coronary heart disease – where the main arteries that supply your heart become clogged up with plaques
- strokes – a serious condition where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted
- heart attacks – a serious condition where the blood supply to part of your heart is blocked
Diabetes and kidney disease are also linked to high blood pressure complications.
How Do Doctors Diagnose High Blood Pressure
Because symptoms are so uncommon, the only way to know you have HBP is to have your blood pressure tested at your doctors office. Your doctor will use a device called a sphygmomanometer, which features an inflatable cuff that wraps around your upper arm. The cuff is attached to a scale, and when it inflates, it measures your systolic BP. It measures your diastolic BP as the cuff slowly deflates. Your doctor will also likely press a stethoscope to listen for any abnormal sounds as your blood flows.
You officially have HBPyour doctor may call it hypertensionwhen your readings are above normal during at least two visits to the doctor. However, many doctors will ask you to measure your own blood pressure using either a home monitor or with a 24-hour monitoring device your doctor lends you. Doing this will help confirm that your blood pressure remains high during the normal course of your day.
Why is this important? Many people have whats called white-coat hypertension, which means that your blood pressure spikes in your doctors office but returns to normal elsewhere. For example, your reading may be high when you have a physical and normal when you use the device at your pharmacist or grocery store .
Lets look at the numbers. The American Heart Association provides the measurements that you should aim for, as well as the ranges that put you in the danger zone. All measurements are mm Hg.
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Irregular Blood Pressure Readings
If 120/80 mm Hg is a regular blood pressure, then it can be assumed that anything lower or higher is then irregular. Blood pressure at or above 120/80 and lower than 140/90 is considered normal to high blood pressure.
When your blood pressure is above 140/90, it means that your heart is working too hard and will stress itself out with all the work that it is doing. Hypertension simply means high blood pressure and it is when a lot of your blood is being pumped through slender arteries, causing a lot of pressure and unnecessary stress on your artery walls. This stress can result in health problems.
Hypotension, while maybe thought to be your blood pressure readings below 120/80, is actually your blood pressure readings of 90/60. This is shockingly low and can be shown through dizziness, fainting, and shock. Low blood pressure shows that not enough blood is pumping through to your arteries and that could result in a numerous amount of other problems.
How To Understand High Blood Pressure Readings
Two numbers create a blood pressure reading. Systolic pressure indicates the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats and pumps out blood. Diastolic pressure is the reading of the pressure in your arteries between beats of your heart.
Five categories define blood pressure readings for adults:
- Healthy: A healthy blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury .
- Elevated: The systolic number is between 120 and 129 mm Hg, and the diastolic number is less than 80 mm Hg. Doctors usually dont treat elevated blood pressure with medication. Instead, your doctor may encourage lifestyle changes to help lower your numbers.
- Stage 1 hypertension: The systolic number is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is between 80 and 89 mm Hg.
- Stage 2 hypertension: The systolic number is 140 mm Hg or higher, or the diastolic number is 90 mm Hg or higher.
- Hypertensive crisis: The systolic number is over 180 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is over 120 mm Hg. Blood pressure in this range requires urgent medical attention. If any symptoms like chest pain, headache, shortness of breath, or visual changes occur when blood pressure is this high, medical care in the emergency room is needed.
A blood pressure reading is taken with a pressure cuff. For an accurate reading, its important you have a cuff that fits. An ill-fitting cuff may deliver inaccurate readings.
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About High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is usually defined as having a sustained blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or above.
The line between normal and raised blood pressure is not fixed and depends on your individual circumstances. However, most doctors agree that the ideal blood pressure for a physically healthy person is around 120/80mmHg.
A normal blood pressure reading is classed as less than 130/80mmHg.
Target Your High Blood Pressure
Once you have been diagnosed with hypertension, remember that high blood pressure can be lowered. For most people, blood pressure readings should be lower than 140/90 mmHg when measured in the doctors office. At home, your blood pressure should generally be below 135/85 mmHg. For those people with diabetes or kidney disease, lower blood pressure is even more important and should be below 130/80 mmHg when measured in the doctors office.
Most people who lead healthy lifestyles do not suffer from high blood pressure. For those with hypertension, following the steps outlined above will lower their blood pressure.
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Heart Attack And Heart Disease
High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:
- Chest pain, also called angina.
- Heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
- Heart failure, a condition that means your heart cant pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.
What Causes Labile Hypertension
When labile hypertension is suspected, a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor may be used to confirm the diagnosis. Then the work of pinpointing the underlying cause begins. Serious detective work often is required. We look at the patients overall health, lifestyle and medications, says Dr. Lioudis.
When a medication or lifestyle choice is the precipitating factor, making appropriate changes can cause labile hypertension to disappear.
Underlying medical conditions are a bigger concern, since they may be harder to treat.
We look for sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease or a problem with the adrenal glands, as any of these can cause blood pressure to fluctuate,says Dr. Lioudis.
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Is There A Cure For High Blood Pressure Can You Die
Lifelong control of hypertension will minimize the risk of developing heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and a variety of other illnesses. Unlike other illnesses in which medications are taken for only a short period of time, high blood pressure medication is usually expected to be taken for the rest of the individual’s life. It is uncommon, but not rare, that significant lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure readings to normal.
Untreated or poorly controlled high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. That is why high blood pressure is called “the silent killer.”
If You Need Two Medications
Many types of blood pressure drugs work best when taken together. When taking two drugs together, diuretics have been shown to lower blood pressure with a beta-blocker, ACE inhibitor and an ARB. A calcium channel blocker lowers blood pressure with the same drugs that work well with a diuretic. Other drug combinations are necessary when taking three or more blood pressure medications. There may be other reasons why your doctor may prescribe two blood pressure medications. For example, after heart attacks, doctors will prescribe a beta-blocker and an ACE inhibitor, but this is not primarily to reduce blood pressure.
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What Causes Systolic Hypertension
Several psychological and physical factors can impact systolic blood pressure in an individual. However, it is important to keep in mind that blood pressure is not a static measurement, as the values for both systolic and diastolic ranges change constantly throughout the day. This is because your circulatory system is a dynamic structure that has to adjust to various stressors. As a result, your doctor will never make a diagnosis of hypertension from a single visit, but rather take blood pressure readings across multiple visits before making a definite diagnosis.
Every organ in the body contributes to your blood pressure, with the kidneys, heart, and brain playing the biggest roles in systolic blood pressure values. Heart health can directly create a significant impact on systolic blood pressure, as the force its creates may have to pump harder if you suffer from medical conditions. Having kidney failure will also lead to increases in blood pressure due to the ineffective removal of excess fluid, creating an increased burden on the heart.
Factors affecting our mental state, such as being frightened or anxious, can also affect systolic blood pressure. This is an autonomic response by the body to help deal with immediate stressors. These situations typically result in increased heart rate and blood pressure, as your body is preparing to go into action.
Youre Having More Than One Alcoholic Drink Per Day
For people who already drink, moderate alcohol consumption is often not a problem, and some research suggests it may even help prevent heart disease. However, heavier alcohol consumptionespecially frequent binge drinking episodescan lead to chronically elevated blood pressure, says Dr. Philips. Research has also tied binge drinking to an increased risk of developing atherosclerosisbuildup of fatty plaque in the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
BP fix: If youre going to drink, drink moderately.
One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits. And if its really more about the ritual than the alcohol itself, consider periodically swapping out your glass of cabernet for a kombucha or one of those trendy new non-alcoholic cocktails from brands like Curious Elixirs, Seedlip, and Kin.
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Living With High Blood Pressure
Controlling your high blood pressure is a lifelong commitment. You will always need to monitor your weight, make healthy food choices, exercise, learn to cope with stress, avoid smoking, and limit your alcohol intake. If you need medicine to control your high blood pressure, you will likely need it all your life.
Additionally, you will need to get used to regular blood pressure checks. Your doctor may want you to come to the office regularly. Or you may be asked to check your blood pressure at home and keep track of your numbers for your doctor. Some pharmacies and retail clinics have blood pressure machines on site. You can buy your own, automated arm blood pressure cuff for use at home. Your doctor may want you to check your blood pressure several times a day. Another option is to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor.
What Natural Remedies Therapies And Supplements Lower Blood Pressure
Alternative therapies may be helpful to people trying to control their blood pressure.
- Acupuncture and biofeedback are well-accepted alternative techniques that may help some people with high blood pressure.
- Techniques that induce relaxation and reduce stress are recommended. These include meditation, yoga, and relaxation training.
- These techniques alone may not control high blood pressure for many people. They should not be used as a substitute for medical therapy without first consulting with your health care practitioner.
Dietary supplements and alternative medications and therapies are sometimes recommended for high blood pressure.
- Examples include vitamins, garlic, fish oil, L-arginine, soy, coenzyme Q10, herbs, phytosterols, and chelation therapy.
- While these substances may be beneficial, the exact nature of their benefits is not known.
- Scientific studies have produced no evidence that these therapies lower blood pressure or prevent the complications of high blood pressure.
- Most of these substances are harmless if taken in moderate doses. Most people can take them without problems.
- Talk to your health care practitioner if you are considering any of these treatments. Substituting these therapies for medical therapies that have been shown to lower blood pressure and the risk of complications may have a harmful effect on your health.
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