Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg. The first number indicates systolic blood pressure. The second one is for diastolic blood pressure. The pressure on arteries during the heart constrict is systolic pressure. And blood pressure when the heart is in rest is known as diastolic pressure. Blood pressure above 140/90 mm Hg is defined as high blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension is extremely harmful to health as it doesn’t show any major symptoms. That is why hypertension is called a ‘silent killer’. But some signs are irregular heart rhythms, chest pain, early morning headaches, nosebleeds, vomiting, vision changes, confusion, buzzing in the ears, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, muscle tremors, etc. High blood pressure can’t be cured totally. But one can control it by proper lifestyle and medication. However, hypertension slowly affects our heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and some other vital organs. So we should concern about it.
1. Lose weight
Blood pressure is directly proportional to body weight. That means people of more bodyweight are more vulnerable having high blood pressure. On the other hand, people who have a moderate body weight are less vulnerable to high blood pressure. Obesity is closely connected with raising blood pressure. And raising blood pressure is linked with several other diseases. We determine obesity by BMI. BMI above 30 is considered obese. If someone’s BMI is above 30, he/she can be considered as obese and has a greater risk of high blood pressure.
But it doesn’t depend on BMI only. The distribution of fat in the abdominal trunk is also responsible for raising blood pressure. It is called abdominal obesity. So losing weight can effective to lower both systolic and diastolic pressure. Losing a small amount of weight has a great effect on decreasing blood pressure. It can drop high blood pressure to moderate.
As per the study, losing 5% of your body weight can significantly get blood pressure down. For every 20 pounds weight loss, one may reduce one’s systolic pressure 5-20 points.
But how does weight loss work to reduce blood pressure? There are several theories about that though the exact reason is unknown. But, when you lose weight, the chance of depositing fat on the wall of arteries is reduced. This incident helps your blood vessels to stretch and contract much easily. When blood pressure is high, the blood vessels become narrow. But losing weight contributes to remove fats from the arterial wall and stretch easily. As a result, blood vessels become wider, and lower blood pressure instantly. As weight loss makes cardiac muscles expanding and stretching much easier, it aids the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood. Consequently, blood pressure goes down.
However, the next question is how to lose weight? Well, some tips for you to lose weight:
- Choose carbohydrates with lower calories
- Conscious of high energetic proteins and fats
- Go for green vegetables
- Eat more fiber
- Take vitamin D supplements
- Exercise regularly
- Have proper sleep
2. Exercise regularly
Not getting regular exercise is involved in high blood pressure. Regular exercise can lower your blood pressure naturally. Several studies found the effectiveness of exercise to reduce high blood pressure.
But how does it work?
Well. Firstly, exercise make your heart more stronger and active. For this, your heart can easily pump blood with less effort. As heart ables to do its job with less effort, pressure on arterial walls decreases. This process reduces high blood pressure. Secondly, exercise lowers bp by reducing the stiffness of blood vessels. This helps the blood to flow more easily.
Thirdly, lower bp is seen in the post-exercise period due to both peripheral and central factors. It is because of local vasodilator mechanisms and the reduction of signal transduction from sympathetic nerve activation into vasoconstriction.
Also, exercise helps to lose weight in obese people in a moderate range. And we see above that losing weight is intimately connected to lower high blood pressure. Besides, exercise contributes to lower high bp by reducing in sympathetical-induced vasoconstriction, reducing catecholamine segregation, increasing insulin sensitivity, vascular structural adaptations, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Another question is the types of exercise.
Though there have several methods of exercise, you don’t need all of them. Even you don’t need to go to the gym to control high blood pressure. You can practice exercise such as
- Aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling can help you to stronger your heart.
- Strength training
Regular exercise about half an hour can be helpful to prevent hypertension. A total of 150 minutes of light exercise per week is recommended. But whatever exercise you do, continuity is main.
3. Healthy diet
If you want to lower your blood pressure you must be concerned about what are you eating. A balanced diet is much beneficial to accelerate this process. To lower the blood pressure DASH(Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is popular. Some rules of the DASH diet are discussed below. Try to eat more legumes nuts and fishes. As sugary desserts or snacks are detrimental to bp, so vegetables and fruits may be the best choice instead of them. Whole grains (pasta, pieces of bread, and other carbohydrate-rich foods) are highly recommended instead of highly refined white flour. Fruits are better than drinking fruit juice. Avoid canned and processed foods and use fresh or frozen foods. Burn as many calories each day as you take in. Caloric intake should be decreased if you need to lose weight.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids
Do you know Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent substances to lower blood pressure naturally? Studies have found that omega-3s can able to lower systolic pressure about 1.75 mm Hg and diastolic pressure about 1.1 mm Hg. High blood pressure is closely connected with the endothelium of the blood vessels. Proper blood flow is related to the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels. And the contraction and relaxation are associated with the endothelium of blood vessels. If any dysfunction occurs in the endothelium (such as rigidity of endothelium) the blood pressure becomes high. It has also linked with atherosclerosis.
But, the study says, omega-3 fatty acids improve the endothelium and the elasticity of arteries and helps to bring blood pressure down. Omega-3s lower blood pressure by improving the left ventricle diastolic filling, reducing the stroke volume, heart rate, and peripheral vascular resistance. Omega-3s also improve the stimulation of nitric oxide production, reduction of the asymmetric di-methyl-arginine (ADMA), endothelin-1, relaxation of vascular smooth muscle cells, endothelial regeneration, and metabolic effects on perivascular adipocytes. All these acts together to lower blood pressure fast.
However, marine sources are the main sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, mackerels herrings, cod liver oil, sardines, oysters, anchovies are some marine sources of omega-3. Chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, soya beans are good plant sources of omega-3s. Though omega-3s are helpful to lower blood pressure, excess consumption of it may harmful to health. So consult a doctor before taking much of omega-3s.
5. Salt and Sodium
Extra level of sodium is bad for health as it increases the blood pressure. It has the ability to raise your blood pressure instantly. But, the question is how does sodium rise the bp?
The answer is, when a person takes salt than the standard level, that means he takes extra sodium also. Then the sodium level in the extracellular fluid (ECF) is increased. It is known from different researches that sodium is connected with water. When the level of sodium increases in our body the water in the body also increases by a process called water retention. Water retention is achieved by decreasing the excretion of water through kidneys. As a result, an increasing amount of body fluid creates pressure on the blood vessels. Thus, the blood pressure increases.
As sodium is intimately involved in high blood pressure, we should lower the intake of salt and the foods containing sodium. It is one of the best ways to lower blood pressure quickly. To lower the sodium consumption, use sodium-free flavorings or spices with your foods instead of salt. Not adding salt when cooking rice, curry, and vegetables will reduce your sodium consumption. Rinse canned foods to remove some of the sodium. Buy foods labeled like “no salt added,” “low sodium,” “sodium-free” or “very low sodium” etc. So to prevent hypertension, less than 1500 mg/day sodium is recommended.
6. More Potassium
Potassium helps to treat low blood pressure. It lowers the blood pressure by inhibiting the activity of sodium. It also increases the excretion of sodium through kidneys. Consequently, water retention is disrupted, and loss of body water promotes. Thus, the blood pressure comes down. So eating foods containing potassium can aid you to reduce your blood pressure. Bananas have a good amount of potassium. A small banana contains 362 mg of potassium. So it is a good food to lower blood pressure naturally and quickly. Vegetables like beet greens, beans, spinach, swiss chard, tomatoes, acorn squash, mushrooms, potatoes, and sweet potatoes are also good sources of potassium. But remember, too much potassium has negative effects on the heart.
7. Lower Caffeine
Blood pressure may rise due to caffeinated beverages to those who are sensitive to caffeine. It causes a short but dynamic increase in blood pressure. As caffeine is a stimulant, it stimulates the nerves to beat the heat a little more fast. As a result, cardiac output increases which causes more pressure on blood vessels. Thus the blood pressure raises. It is believed that caffeine can block a hormone which helps to keep the arteries wide. Another hypothesis is that caffeine accelerates the adrenal glands to release more amount of adrenalin. And it causes high blood pressure. So, to prevent high blood pressure, one should avoid drinking much caffeine or it will be a reason for hypertension to him.
8. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol addiction is a reason behind hypertension. Several studies have found that blood pressure is much higher in alcohol addicts than the blood pressure of a normal person. Though the exact mechanism of raising blood pressure by alcohol is unknown, the ultimate result is undoubtedly proven. As alcohol contains lots of calories and sugars, it contributes to increasing body fat, poor diet, and weight gain. All of these factors cause a rise in blood pressure.
On the other hand, the muscles in the blood vessels can be affected by drinking alcohol. This can make them to become narrower. For this, the oxygen supply to the cells becomes down. As a result, the heart has to work a little bit faster for proper oxygen supply to the whole body. It leads to a rise in blood pressure. Drinking alcohol also can cause numerous health problems for us. So to avoid hypertension, one must stop drinking alcohol.
9. Avoid smoking
Smoking is always harmful to our health. Recent studies have also found that smoking is not only injurious to our vital organs like the heart, lungs, or kidneys but also raises blood pressure. Nicotine is the main culprit for this. Firstly, smoking is responsible for increasing heart and cardiac output. Thus the pressure on blood vessels increases. Secondly, smoking contributes to narrow the arteries and to make clots. Then the pressure on the arterial walls increases. Besides, the hardening of arterial walls also occurs due to smoking. It reduces the ability of contraction and dilation of the vessels. These occurrences are collectively responsible for high blood pressure. So, if you want to get rid of high blood pressure, you must quit smoking.
10. Reduce stress
It is hard to find any people who don’t undergo any stress. But, stressful conditions like anxiety, depression, etc. act as promoters for high blood pressure. When you are in a stressful situation, your body produces a surge of hormones. For this, your heart has to beat faster and the blood vessels become narrow. This causes a rise in blood pressure for a short time. Behaviors like smoking, drinking alcohol, eating unhealthy foods under stress can promote hypertension. So to lower blood pressure, one must try to free from stress. It is equally good for your heart. Be frolicsome. Exercise and enough sleep help to keep away from anxiety. It is also necessary to cut depression.
That’s for today. Thanks for reading carefully. I hope that these will help you to control your blood pressure. Always try to check your blood pressure. If it goes beyond control, please consult with a doctor as early as possible.