High blood pressure also called hypertension is blood pressure that is higher than normal. High blood pressure develops over time and can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as a lack of physical activity. If the blood pressure is very high for too long, it can stretch and damage the arteries resulting in several health problems such as heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, memory loss and cognitive decline. Though blood pressure cannot be cured, it can be managed effectively through changes in your lifestyle and medication, if necessary.
Today, we would cover some of the most effective home remedies that can help to manage or prevent high blood pressure.
Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure
There are some simple things that you can do to manage high blood pressure without medication. Following are some effective home remedies to reduce high blood pressure:
1. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise and staying active can benefit heart health. Not only does exercise help control high blood pressure, but it also helps to manage body weight, strengthen the heart, lower stress level and elevate mood. Exercise can help to prevent diabetes and other types of heart disease. Any type of aerobic activity of your choice such as brisk walking, running, cycling, dancing or swimming 3-4 times per week (30 minutes a day) can help lower blood pressure levels. If you have been inactive for a while, start slowly and talk to your doctor about a safe exercise routine.
2. Follow the DASH Diet
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension which is a specific diet designed to help people with blood pressure without medication. This diet promotes eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins like fish and chicken with limited salt. High blood pressure patients should avoid processed foods, sugary items, sweet beverages, red meat and oily food to prevent any spikes in blood pressure.
3. Limit Salt Intake
Sodium is a key component of salt and can increase blood pressure. To prevent hypertension, it is recommended to consume less than 2300 mg of sodium per day which is a little over half a teaspoon of table salt. Those who have already been diagnosed with hypertension should reduce their sodium intake to 1500 mg – 2300 mg per day. People with hypertension should avoid processed foods and replace salt with spices, garlic, herbs and other seasonings to add flavour to their dishes.
4. Eat Potassium-Rich Foods
Potassium helps your body get rid of sodium and also helps to regulate heart rate, both of which help to further lower blood pressure. Include potassium-rich foods in your diet such as bananas, melons, oranges, tomatoes, milk, yoghurt, leafy green vegetables, potatoes and sweet potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds.
It is recommended to talk to your doctor before incorporating these food items into your diet as the doctor can guide you better. Also, if you have significant kidney disease, you should avoid consuming too much potassium, because your kidneys may not be able to eliminate it.
5. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Being obese can cause life-threatening diseases like heart disease and high blood pressure. If you are overweight, try to lose at least 5 to 10 pounds to keep your blood pressure at bay. It is vital to check your waistline as it can damage the organs around it, leading to a boost in blood pressure. Patients are advised to keep their BMI between 18 and 24 to prevent or treat hypertension. Women should aim to keep their waist circumference below 88 cm (34 inches), while men should be below 102 cm (40 inches).
6. Quit Smoking
Chain smokers are at risk of having high blood pressure for long durations. Passive smoking can also increase the chances of high blood pressure. However, quitting smoking can help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
7. Avoid Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine can cause a short but instant increase in blood pressure, especially in people with hypertension. It may not have a long-term effect on your blood pressure, but it still elevates your blood pressure after having a caffeinated drink. Blood pressure patients who drink coffee may need to consult their doctor to determine how much caffeine they can have in a day.
8. Reduce Stress
Stress is a part of daily life and some of the main sources of stress might be related to work, family, finances or illness. Stress can negatively affect health and even contribute to chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Stress can also increase your blood pressure levels if your coping mechanisms involve eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking. Therefore, it is better to find ways to cope with and manage it. You can relax by meditating, connecting with others, listening to music, getting physically active, practicing yoga, getting enough sleep, being creative and trying to remain positive.
9. Get a Good night’s Sleep
Having inadequate or insufficient sleep for several days or weeks can contribute to hypertension. Doctors recommend getting between seven to nine hours of sleep a night to avoid the rise in hormone levels altogether and reduce existing feelings of stress and anxiety.
10. Keep a Blood Pressure Kit at Home
Measuring blood pressure at home is a good way to actively manage your health. A blood pressure kit can help to monitor blood pressure at home and allows one to take readings more frequently than going to the doctor every time to get it. This can build up a record or log of measurements over time which will help the doctor understand how your blood pressure changes throughout the day.
High blood pressure may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious health problems. As explained above, there is no short way to lower blood pressure. Lifestyle changes that incorporate exercise, diet, and stress-reducing techniques can naturally lower blood pressure over time. Sometimes, treatment requires both a healthy lifestyle and medication. These changes may take days to weeks for blood pressure to get back to normal. However, it is important to visit your doctor to get proper treatment.
To book an online or physical consultation with the best cardiologist in Karachi visit https://www.shifaam.com. You can also download the Shifaam Health App from Google Play Store (bit.ly/2JqZo3C) or the iOS App Store (apple.co/2QUVxQz). We are just a call 021-37132273 or Whatsapp 0347-7222273 away!
If you have a family history of high blood pressure, you should see a cardiologist in Karachi at your earliest. For more information on Cardiologists in Karachi or for an appointment with experienced doctors click on the links below:
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