How to get blood pressure lower is a question that millions of people ask each year. High blood pressure is the number one preventable cause of heart attack and stroke in the United States. It is estimated that it’s more than half of all heart attacks and strokes that are caused by high blood pressure, and half of all fatal heart attacks and strokes that are caused by high blood pressure. There are many causes of high blood pressure, but high blood pressure is most often caused by lifestyle choices. These choices directly affect your risk for serious health problems.
Lifestyle changes that can have a profound effect on your health include your diet and your activity level. If you eat too much saturated fat and cholesterol, your LDL, or bad cholesterol, will be higher than normal, increasing your risk for cholesterol-related health issues, such as heart disease, stroke, and heart failure. Exercise is also one of the very best ways to lower high blood pressure through improved cardiovascular function. Regular physical activity helps to make your heart stronger, which in turn lowers your resting heart rate, and thus reduces your systolic blood pressure (the top number associated with your heart) and your diastolic blood pressure, the bottom number associated with your heart.
Smoking has also been shown to play a significant role in raising your systolic blood pressure. Nicotine, found in cigarettes, increases both your cholesterol and your high blood pressure. One of the largest studies on the relationship of smoking and hypertension was conducted by the Nurses’ Health Study; this study followed nearly 2 thousand menopausal women for a minimum of 20 years. The participants were tracked for an average of five years, and researchers noticed that women who smoked had double the risk of developing hypertension. Smoking was particularly important for black women, who were twice as likely to develop hypertension compared to those who never smoked.
If you smoke, it is particularly important that you quit. According to a recent study, there are only three safe times for cigarette smoking: early morning, late evening, and first thing in the morning. Of these only the evening or morning hours is when you are at the greatest risk for developing cardiovascular disease as well as developing hypertension. Other ways to lowering blood pressure include avoiding alcohol and spicy foods, as spicy foods raise your blood vessels’ pressure. The one study that directly addressed the issue of alcohol and hypertension found that the risks for both were elevated for drinkers, regardless of whether they were men or women.
As far as lifestyle changes go, you can certainly make a lot of them yourself without the help of medication. A balanced diet, plenty of exercise, stress management, and some herbal remedies all have been linked to lower blood pressure naturally. If you are at risk for high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about what changes you need to make in order to get your blood pressure lower. Your doctor may prescribe medicine or lifestyle changes, or he may refer you to an herbalist or other alternative medical practitioner. Sometimes natural medicine works just as well as conventional medicine, and side effects are minimal with most herbs.
How much to exercise is a question that many people often wonder. For many people, it is best to start slow and then work your way up. Enjoying a thirty-minute walk every day is a great place to start. Over time, you will be able to add more exercises to the routine. It is also important that you keep track of how many times per week you are actually exercising. If you are not exercising at least a minimum amount per week, you are not increasing your body’s resistance to blood pressure rises.
Staying away from too many foods that are high in cholesterol and sodium is important as well. Eating smaller meals throughout the day and taking in more water can help you avoid this problem. Over time, you will notice that your high blood pressure is slowly starting to drop.
The last tip involves diet, exercise and weight loss. Losing weight is important because it makes you feel better physically, but it also reduces how much physical stress you are experiencing in your life. If you are stressed about things like how to lose weight, you are more likely to have panic attacks during times of high blood pressure. Exercise is important, whether you are trying to gain muscle or just tone down and fit into your clothes. When you exercise, you are strengthening your cardiovascular system and your endocrine system, which impact your entire body, lowering your blood pressure naturally.