5 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure
More and more people are being diagnosed with high blood pressure in a world of high stress, low physical activity and poor diets. Many people don’t even know that they may have this potentially very harmful health condition. So what exactly is it?
Put in its most simple for, blood pressure is the pressure of blood travelling though your arteries. It is something we all have and for some of us, this pressure is too high.
Most of us have heard our doctors muttering figures such as ‘130 over 80’. The first number is the top pressure of blood, the greatest level blood pressure reaches while your heart is beating and pumping blood through your body. This is called the systolic blood pressure. The lower number is the lowest level reached and is called the diastolic blood pressure. Normal blood pressure generally should not exceed 140/85mmHG (measured in millimetres of mercury).
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can result from a number of issues. Inactivity and being overweight are two of the main contributors. A high salt intake is another issue, as is having too much alcohol. Stress can have a contributing factor, especially if it is recurring. Finally, and the one thing we have no control over, is having a family history of hypertension.
So what can we do to lower or even prevent high blood pressure? There are several things we can do to lower and/or prevent hypertension.
- Diet is key. Keeping salt intake to a minimum and eating a balanced diet is vital in maintaining a normal blood pressure. Dairy and in particular cheese, can have an adverse affect on blood pressure, as can too much caffeine
- Exercise is also vital. Regular exercise several times a week will help prevent hypertension. Something as simple as going for a walk at least 3-4 times a week can make a difference
- Keeping alcohol intake to a minimum. Alcohol can, among other things, damage heart muscle if taken excessively. It is recommended that you do not exceed 3-4 units per day for men and 2-3 units for women. 1 unit is the equivalent of a small glass of wine = 100mls, or half a pint of lager/beer/cider, or a pub measure of spirits (25mls)
- If you are overweight then losing weight can make a huge difference to your blood pressure readings
- Relax. Being aware of your stress levels can make a large difference. Activities such as yoga/tai chi, and meditation are all said to benefit heart health and especially hypertension
To conclude, our lifestyles have a direct affect on our health. Blood pressure in particular can become an issue if you are eating the wrong kind of food, drinking more than the recommended daily amounts and being inactive. Add an unhealthy dose of stress into the mix and hypertension can become a real issue. However, its not all doom and gloom. We can take control of our lives and our health byt making a few little changes.