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May 18, 2024

How to Lower Blood Pressure: Natural Methods and Lifestyle Changes

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition that affects over 1.2 billion adults worldwide, considerably increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It is crucial to know your blood pressure numbers and monitor them regularly, taking steps to lower them if necessary. Blood pressure is measured by considering two numbers - systolic (pressure during heartbeats) and diastolic (pressure between heartbeats), usually identified as systolic/diastolic. A blood pressure lower than 120/80 mm Hg is generally considered normal. It is important to take note that health care providers refer to high blood pressure as a "silent killer" as it often presents no symptoms, emphasizing the importance of regular check-up.

Prevalence and Impact of High Blood Pressure

The prevalence of high blood pressure is alarming. In the U.S. alone, it affects 47% of adults, contributing to over 670,000 deaths in 2020. Globally, the number is staggering with more than 1.2 billion people being affected. Most individuals with hypertension reside in low or middle-income countries, emphasizing the widespread nature of the condition and its global impact. Henceforth, effective management of high blood pressure is key for overall health.

Methods to Lower Blood Pressure

There are several ways individuals can naturally manage blood pressure. Lifestyle modifications such as engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, reducing sodium intake, maintaining a diet low in fats and carbohydrates, and losing weight, especially in belly fat, can significantly improve blood pressure levels. Additionally, cutting back on added sugar and refined carbs and consuming foods like dark chocolate and berries, known for being rich in polyphenols and flavonoids respectively, can help regulate blood pressure.

Monitoring Blood Pressure at Home

Monitoring blood pressure at home with a blood pressure cuff is suggested for keeping track of its levels. Accurate measurements are best obtained by measuring blood pressure in the arm with higher readings. Most importantly, keeping a dialogue with the medical team, discussing goals and preferences, and staying informed play a crucial role in successfully managing blood pressure over the long term.

Lifestyle Changes Affecting Blood Pressure

Several lifestyle habits can significantly affect blood pressure levels. These include regular exercise, managing weight, quitting smoking, getting quality sleep, and limiting alcohol, caffeine, and sugar intake. Other habits like moderate consumption of alcohol (defined as no more than one drink per day for females and two drinks per day for males), consuming foods rich in calcium and magnesium, meditation, deep breathing and even limiting caffeine if sensitive to its effects can also be beneficial.

Maintaining a Regular Check with Healthcare Provider

While lifestyle modifications can considerably improve your blood pressure, it is important to maintain regular check-ups and discuss any concerns or persistent high blood pressure with a healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on appropriate medication and treatment options. Hence, it is crucial to not only understand your blood pressure numbers but also to take proactive steps to keep them in a healthy range.

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