High blood pressure, or hypertension, is not something to be taken lightly. It is a serious disease the cause of which is unknown. One fact health care professionals do know is that left untreated, high blood pressure over time can lead to serious heart disease and other vascular troubles, even death.
Blood pressure medications come in a wide range of formulas and dosages; each aimed at reducing the pressure going through the blood vessels either as the heart pumps blood or relaxes. Some medications strengthen the blood vessels while others thin the blood in an effort to reduce the strain. Trial and error is usually a doctor’s only course of action when determining which combination of drugs and treatments will benefit a specific patient.
There is however some good news about hypertension! There are steps you can take today that will begin to lower your blood pressure almost immediately. Over time, the result is a sustained healthy blood pressure reading that supports your blood vessels and heart for years to come.
Start with these 5 easy lifestyle changes. Always consult with your doctor before trying anything new with your health regime, and never go off of any medication without the advice of your doctor. Here is a list that any doctor can approve of:
1. Drink water. Yes, water is a way to cleanse and refresh every part of the body, even your blood vessels. Drink 8-10 glasses each day to flush out excess salt and toxins that make their way into the bloodstream. You can use water to replace some drinks containing caffeine that temporarily raise blood pressure.
2. Stop Smoking. If you are a long time smoker, you know how it affects your breathing. What you may not realize is its impact on your blood pressure. If you can’t quit completely, then cut down. Even a 50% reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked each week can help.
3. Exercise. A cardiovascular workout strengthens the heart. This is important because high blood pressure over time puts added strain on the heart. Just 20 minutes, 3 times per week of a sustained increase in heart rate will aid in lowering blood pressure.
4. Eat Right. If you are eating better and exercising, a nice by-product will be weight loss. By reducing your weight by 10%, you can significantly lower blood pressure. A diet that includes the freshest fruits and vegetables will support healthy blood pressure. Reduce or eliminate salt intake, and especially beware of ‘hidden’ sodium found abundantly in pre-packaged convenience foods.
5. Relax. Many people have a temporary rise in blood pressure when they are under stress. If you have high blood pressure because you are overweight or have a family history of hypertension, then stress raises it that much more. Try taking a walk, meditating, or listening to relaxing music to take the edge off a stressful day. Make time for decompressing each and every day.