High blood pressure, or hypertension, is very common. According to a new study done by Harvard, high blood pressure helps contribute to 15 percent of the deaths in the United States. Additionally, the American Heart Association has stated that 28 percent of people in America have hypertension and do not even know it. You should see your doctor if you have not had your blood pressure checked within the last two years.
There are several medications that have been approved to treat hypertension. These medications are very effective, but they can cause side effects such as insomnia, leg cramps and dizziness. The good news is that the majority of people can lower their blood pressure without using any medication. The first step in lowering your blood pressure is to bring your weight down to a healthy number. After that, here are a few suggestions:
1.) Power Walk Hypertensive patients who walked briskly were able to lower their systolic blood pressure, or top number, by 8 mmhg. They were able to lower their diastolic blood pressure, or bottom number, by 6 mmhg. If you exercise regularly, your heart will not have to pump as hard. Attempt to work out vigorously for 30 minutes a day, most days out of the week. Once you have gotten used to working out for a while, try increasing the distance and speed.
2.) Breathe Deeply Meditative and breathing practices, such as yoga, tai chi and qigong help decrease stress hormones. These hormones help increase renin, which is an enzyme in the kidney that causes the blood pressure to increase. Try inhaling and exhaling deeply for five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night.
3.) Eat Potassium-Rich Produce Linda Van Horn, who is a professor of preventative medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medical, has stated that potassium-rich vegetables and fruits should be part of every blood pressure lowering regime. She recommends that everyone get between 2,000 mg and 4,000 mg of potassium per day. Dried fruits, orange juice, tomatoes, honeydew melon, bananas and potatoes are foods that are rich in potassium.
4.) Check The Sodium On The Food Labels African Americans, people with a family history of hypertension and the elderly are more likely to have high blood pressure because they may be more sodium sensitive. There is no way to tell whether a person is sodium sensitive, so everyone should watch their sodium intake. Eva Obarzanek, who is a researcher at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, recommends that people reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. Eating less processed foods and putting less salt on your food are two things that you can do to reduce your sodium intake.
5.) Have Some Dark Chocolate Have a ½ ounce serving of dark chocolate every day. There was a study done that showed that 18 percent of people who ate dark chocolate every day were able to lower their blood pressure.
6.) Consume Alcohol In Moderation You can lower your blood pressure by reducing the amount of alcohol that you drink. However, there was a study performed by Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital that showed that light drinkers may be able to lower their blood pressure more than people who do not drink at all. There have also been studies done to show that moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease. Women should only consume one alcoholic drink per day, and men should consume two at the most. It is important to note that excessive alcohol consumption can be dangerous.
7.) Switch to Decaffeinated Coffee The debate about the effect that caffeine has on blood pressure has been going on for a long time. Some studies say that caffeine does not affect blood pressure, but there was a study done by Duke University Medical Center that showed that consuming 500 mg of caffeine per day can increase blood pressure by 4 mmhg. Jim Lane, who is a professor at Duke, states that caffeine can cause the blood vessels to tighten. That is why it is recommended to switch to decaffeinated coffee if you are a coffee drinker.
8.) Drink Some Tea There was a study done that showed the subjects who drank three cups of hibiscus tea every day were able to lower their systolic blood pressure by an average of seven points after six weeks. Hibiscus contains phytochemicals that can reduce blood pressure.
9.) Work Less If you work more than 41 hours a week, then you can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure by 15 percent according to a study that was done by the University of California, Irvine. Haiou Yang, who was the lead researcher in the study, stated that working overtime makes it harder for you to exercise and eat healthy. Even though it is hard, try to leave work at a decent time so that you can have time to cook a nutritious meal and go to the gym.
10.) Listen To Relaxing Music According to a study done at the University of Florence in Italy, listening to music can lower your blood pressure. The study involved 28 people who were taking high blood pressure medications. The subjects were asked to listen to Celtic, classical or Indian music for 30 minutes a day. The results of the study showed that the subjects were able to reduce their systolic blood pressure by an average of 3.4 points. After one month, the subjects were able to reduce their systolic blood pressure by 4.4 points.
11.) Get Help for Snoring Snoring is often a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. People who have sleep apnea have higher levels of aldosterone, which is a hormone that can raise blood pressure. In fact, approximately half of sleep apnea sufferers have high blood pressure. Daytime sleepiness and morning headaches are two other signs of sleep apnea. See your doctor so that you can get checked for obstructive sleep apnea.
12.) Get More Soy In Your Diet There was a study done by Circulation: Journal of The American Heart Association that showed that replacing refined carbohydrates with soy-based foods can lower your systolic blood pressure.
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