Resistant hypertension refers to the condition where your blood pressure remains high despite taking at least 3-4 different types of medications and diuretics. Resistant hypertension may occur due to one or more underlying causes – hormonal abnormalities, plaque build-up in the arteries, obstructive sleep apnoea, obesity, and others.
Ways to manage resistant hypertension
Since neither medications nor diuretics yield the desired results, the only way to combat resistant hypertension is to adopt lifestyle changes that might help keep high blood pressure under control.
Eat a low-salt well-balanced diet – Eating a heart-healthy diet is important to control resistant hypertension. Get all the nutrition from healthy food sources. Focus on eating a DASH diet that is rich in fibre and low in sodium – whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, fibre, low-fat dairy products, nuts and legumes. At the same time, reduce your intake of saturated fats, sweetened beverages, and red meat.
Limit intake of alcohol – Drinking too much alcohol elevates your blood pressure. If you have resistant hypertension, you will need to limit your daily alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks.
Indulge in physical activities – Staying physically active not only helps regulate your high blood pressure, but also helps strengthen the heart, manage weight, and reduce stress levels. A strong heart, healthy weight, and emotional well-being are good for hypertension. Make time for mild to moderate physical activities like brisk walking, cycling, running or jogging, and muscle training. Working out at least 30-45 minutes a day can make a huge difference in your overall health.
Keep your weight under check – Being obese or overweight puts you at risk of high blood pressure and other related health issues. It is important that you lose excess weight and maintain healthy body weight. Eat healthily and work out every day to manage resistant hypertension.
Lower stress levels – In today’s fast-paced life, stress can take a toll on your blood pressure, causing it to rise up sharply. Practice various stress-management techniques – meditation, yoga, relaxation therapy, and deep breathing exercises can help calm your mind and bring down your stress levels.
Apart from following these, resistant hypertension patients should continue taking the right dose of medications at the right time, as per their doctor’s recommendation.
High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is a serious condition that may put you at risk of stroke and heart disease, if left untreated. Besides medications, there are other ways to control blood pressure levels. Most of these involve making changes in your habits and lifestyle.
Here is what you can do to get your blood pressure back to its normal range –
Lose weight – Losing as little as 3-4 kg can make a big difference in your elevated blood pressure levels and overall health. According to studies, losing 5% of the bodyweight could reduce high blood pressure significantly. Weight loss helps your vessels contract and expand better, making it easier for the left ventricle to pump blood. The effect is greater when you exercise. Make sure you indulge in some sort of physical activity for half an hour at least, 3-4 days a week. It could be running, cycling, swimming, jogging, or even brisk walking.
Cut back on sodium intake – People often end up consuming more dietary sodium than the recommended levels. Individuals with high blood pressure should limit their sodium intake to 1500 gm/day. It is difficult to reduce dietary sodium without reading labels unless you prepare your own food. It does not take much sodium to reach the daily allowance – only 3/4th of a teaspoon of salt is enough. Processed and packaged foods contain high levels of sodium. It is best to avoid such ‘salty foods’ like bread rolls, pies, pastries, sausages, pizza, pasta, biscuits and cookies.
Limit alcohol consumption – Drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis can cause your blood pressure to rise up significantly. 16% of all cases concerning high blood pressure have been linked to overindulgence in alcohol. Therefore, drink in moderation. Limit your number of drinks to one (for women) and two (for men) thrice a week.
Relieve Stress – Stress hormones can constrict your blood vessels temporarily. Over time, built-up stress can prompt certain unhealthy habits that put you at risk of cardiovascular problems. These may include poor sleep, overeating, and misusing alcohol and drugs. Therefore, relieving stress is imperative to reducing high blood pressure.
Hypertension affects the majority of the world’s population. Ideally, your systolic blood pressure should be less than 120 mm/Hg and diastolic pressure less than 80 mm/Hg. The above guidelines will help you stabilize your high blood pressure and keep it within the desired range.