About 85 million Americans have high blood pressure, a condition where the blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. Anyone, including children, can develop high blood pressure. It greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States, the Center for Disease Control reported. How do you know if you have high blood pressure? A doctor will run lab tests to help conclude whether or not the blood pressure issue is consistent or not. Based on the results of your tests, a doctor will identify whether or not the condition warrants medication, a lifestyle adjustment or maybe both. Clyde Yancy, MD, Chief of Cardiology at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute in Chicago explained that most people will likely have the condition. “The best data demonstrates that hypertension is almost unavoidable as we age,” he told the Huffington Post. "Once we reach age 55, we have a 90 percent chance of becoming hypertensive." That is not exactly great news. However, you can make changes in your lifestyle that could help you. Here are 6 ways you can address high blood pressure.
Go on a diet.Your doctor may tell you to go on the DASH or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet. This approach guides you into making healthy selections for your meals. This includes eating more greens, fruits and low-fat foods and scaling back on saturated fat and cholesterol. More heart-healthy foods are onions, garlic, tomatoes, turnips and mushrooms. Fruits to consider are strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and acai berries. Folding these foods into the diet is great, but it is the salt you need to cut back on. You can make gradual changes to wean off of the sodium. "For instance, start by limiting yourself to 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day (about 1 teaspoon). Then, once your body has adjusted to the diet, cut back to 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day (about 2/3 teaspoon)," WebMD shared.
Reduce your stress.Stress is a real killer and it will take a toll on your heart. Under stress, muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury and your heart is a muscle! Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems and it is during the stress response, you breathe faster, Healthline examined. This makes your heart have to work harder. "Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and raise your blood pressure. All that helps get oxygen to your brain and heart so you’ll have more strength and energy to take action." Take a quick walk or take a break from the situation if stress is taking a toll on you. Physical exercise stabilizes stress hormones and this will help the body go into a better state.
Learn yoga.Doing yoga allows us to live in the moment without judgment. The American Psychological Association explained that research shows that yoga may decrease emotional reactivity. This is great for your blood pressure. Practicing yoga also boosts working memory, intuition, helps with fear—along with allowing people to deal with relationship stress better. Harvard Health backed this assertion. They found it helped lower blood pressure in people who have hypertension. It's likely that the yoga restores "baroreceptor sensitivity. This helps the body senses imbalances in blood pressure and maintain balance."
Switch to decaffeinated coffee.Duke University Medical Center found that caffeine consumption of 500 mg increased blood pressure by 4 mmHg, and that effect lasted until bedtime. Caffeine is absorbed within 30-45 minutes and its effects can last for hours. Why is coffee consumption bad? Caffeine raises blood pressure by tightening blood vessels Jim Lane, Ph.D. explained to prevention.com. "When you're under stress, your heart starts pumping a lot more blood, boosting blood pressure--caffeine exaggerates that effect." To protect you heart switch to decaffeinated coffee.
Relax more.You need to take a step back and perhaps if you can, take small vacations through the year. Enjoy nature, take more walking breaks, read or start journaling. Anything that will help you reach a better state of mind. Try to expand your skills at cooking. Go on a recipe exploration in bookstores or online and compile recipes to tackle. Join an art class or learn the delicacies of wine pairing with cuisine. If you want to start making healthier habits regarding your mental well-being, start learning how to unwind more.
Prayer is powerful and will also make you feel good to vent about current struggles.Sometimes we just need to be heard and praying can help this process. Not only this, but prayer will also make you a calmer person and it will get your mind off your troubles. There is no magic words or a particular flow, just communicate from your heart. Before you hit the grind of the morning, try to be still. Starting your day this way will set the tone. Author Rebecca Barlow Jordan prescribed a simple prayer: "I can't handle these times alone, Lord. Will you speak peace and calm my storms, or hold my hand while we walk through them together? Will you bring the reassuring wisdom of those who have come through similar times into my life? Thank you, Lord. I'm trusting you. In the name of the One who makes the wind and the waves stand still, Amen."
High blood pressure is a serious matter. Work on changing your lifestyle and incorporating things like prayer, yoga to lower stress and eating better to improve your overall health. Meanwhile, it will keep your heart happy.