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The heart is a pumping organ that pushes blood around the entire body to feed other organs with the needed nutrients. It also remove some gaseous wastes. To push blood around the body, a certain amount of pressure is required. This is termed Blood Pressure. Blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when the heart relaxes between beats. It is a changing phenomenon and affected by various factors like activity, rest, exercise, temperature, cold, diet, emotional state, posture, medications etc. This article helps you understand practical ways to reduce high blood pressure when you notice it begins to rise.
Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
Observing these few steps will go a long way in managing high blood pressure:
• Regular Exercise
Working out for about 30 minutes a day can go a long way to reduce high blood pressure. The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure. It is advisable to be consistent with physical activity as stopping may cause the blood pressure to bounce back and even become severe.
• Reduce the Intake of Salt
Sodium /salt is an essential as it supplies the body with needed micro-elements. Excess intake may cause the blood pressure to shoot up and affect the heart. The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure varies among groups of people. Avoid the intake of processed foods and check food labels to know the sodium contents.
• Reduce the Intake of Alcohol
Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg. But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol. That means generally more than one drink a day for women and for men older than age 65. Or more than two a day for men age 65 and younger.
• Healthy Dieting
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure greatly. Having a good diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthful fats could make high blood pressure a thing of the past.
• Reduce the Intake of Caffeine
Caffeine is believed to cause a rise in blood pressure, especially in those who take it for the first time. Thus, avoid caffeine if your family has a history of high blood pressure.
• Reduce Stressful Activities
Stress is a great contributor to the development of high blood pressure and ranges from house chores to office works. If the major cause of blood pressure is known, then avoiding the triggering factors can go a long way in reducing it. Inadequate or poor-quality sleep can negatively affect your mood, mental alertness, energy level, and physical health.
• Quitting the Use of Cigarette/Tobacco
One of the contributing factors to the development of high blood pressure is smoking. A cigarette a day increases your blood pressure by a significant millimetre. Quitting smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. People who quit smoking, regardless of age, have substantial increases in life expectancy.
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AskMayoExpert. What is the optimal therapy in patients with hypertension? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
Basile J, et al. Overview of hypertension in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 11, 2015.