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 body weight 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 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 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.