Blood pressure is basically the force exerted by the blood against the blood vessel walls as the heart pumps blood through the circulatory system. More than 8 million people are living with hypertension (High blood pressure) worldwide. That is probably why hypertension is the blood pressure problem that the majority of people know about. However, blood pressure can also be low (hypotension).
Whether you have high or low blood pressure, this article is to help you understand how to control your blood pressure more effectively.
Controlling High Blood Pressure
Hypertension can lead to other health complications like heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and diabetes, among others. To control hypertension, one should:
- Reduce or avoid alcohol intake
Alcohol is linked to 16% of high blood pressure cases globally. Therefore, if you take alcohol, reduce your intake or stop all together.Reduce caffeine intake
Because caffeine provides an instant boost it can increase the risk of developing hypertension. Even 45 to 60 minutes after taking coffee, blood pressure is usually raised depending on an individual. People who are caffeine sensitive, should cut down on coffee or try decaffeinated coffee.
- Consume more potassium rich foods
Potassium helps the body to get rid of sodium as well as to ease blood pressure on blood vessels. Such foods include milk, nuts, beans and tuna, among others.
Did you know that 30 minutes of exercises everyday can actually help reduce your risk of hypertension? Doing regular exercises or moderate exercises like walking can go a long way to decreasing your risk of suffering from high blood pressure.
- Maintain a healthy body weight
Being overweight can increase your blood pressure. For instance, it can cause sleep apnea which raises blood pressure. To prevent this, maintain a healthy body weight after losing weight. As you lose weight, ensure that you keep a watch on your waistline as having a large waistline increases the risk of blood pressure. Generally, women should maintain a waistline of 35 inches and below while men should maintain a waistline of 40 inches or lower.
A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and low in fats and cholesterol can help reduce high blood pressure significantly. Incorporate garlic into your diet, whether fresh or in form of garlic extract, as it is well known for its blood pressure reduction property.
With every cigarette smoked, blood pressure is raised, even many minutes after smoking and therefore, by not smoking, your blood pressure returns to normal. Keep in mind that smoking increases the risk of many other conditions like certain cancers and heart disease so by stopping smoking, you improve your overall health.
Stress is one of the factors that increases blood pressure and so learning how to reduce or manage stress is very helpful in reducing high blood pressure. You can try meditation, yoga, acupuncture, or other stress relief activities.
People who experience sleep deprivation, especially in middle-age, have an increased risk of getting high blood pressure. If you are in that situation, set a regular sleep schedule, avoid napping during the day, exercise during the day, relax at night and make your bedroom comfortable to make it easier to sleep better.
Most people focus on hypertension because it is more common; however, we cannot talk about blood pressure without discussing low blood pressure. Hypotension can be better controlled by:
- Avoiding alcoholic beverages
- Speaking to your doctor to find out whether the drop-in blood pressure is due to certain medication
- Taking a lot of fluids, including a lot of water
- Eating a diet high in salt
- Getting regular exercise which promotes flow of blood
- Avoiding standing for long periods of time
- Eating smaller, more frequent meals to avoid symptoms like dizziness after eating
- Avoiding prolonged exposure to hot water such as when taking a shower
- Wearing compression stockings which help to reduce the amount of blood that gets caught in the lower legs and feet
Being aware of your symptoms is very important because you then know what to look out for when hypotension begins to cause complications.
Whether you have hypertension or hypotension, this article aims to help you better understand how you can improve your condition and improve your health.