Blood pressure is the force at which the blood is pumped through the veins, according to the American Heart Association, normal blood pressure is when it does not exceeds 120/80 mm Hg (millimeter of Mercury). Additionally, the associations classify High Blood Pressure in 4 categories:
Elevated Blood Pressure
When the blood pressure is between 120-129/ less than 80 mm Hg.
Stage 1 High Blood Pressure
When the blood pressure ranges between 130-139/80-89 mm Hg
Stage 2 High Blood Pressure
When the blood pressure is above 140/90 mm Hg
This is the most severe stage of High Blood Pressure where a person’s blood pressure exceeds 180/120 mm Hg.
When a person suffers from High Blood Pressure or also called Hypertension, the blood is pumped through the blood vessels with an extra force which can damage the veins. According to the National Family Health Survey of 2017, one in eight Indians is suffering from high blood pressure. Additionally, as per the study by The Global Burden of Diseases, over 16 lakh in India died because of Hypertension in 2016 alone.
Now that we know what High Blood Pressure is and how big of an issue it is, let us take a look at some ways by which you Know How to control High Blood Pressure of your body
How To Control High Blood Pressure:
1. Lose Some Weight
We cannot stress on it more, but Weight and Blood Pressure (BP) go hand in hand, In general, with every 1 kilogram of weight you shed, you may reduce your BP by 1 mm Hg. Additionally, as you become overweight, you may pick sleep apnea (disrupted breathing while sleeping) which raises BP.
Moreover, it is not just the overall weight that matters, it is critical to control your waistline to keep the BP under check. The excess weight around the waist (visceral fat) also poses the risk of heart problems along with High BP. In general, men whose waistline is over 40 inches are at greater risk of High BP and talking about women, their waistline over 35 inches increases the risk of High BP.
2. Do Not Stress
In today’s time, it is difficult to calm down and relax just a little with the increase in demands and expectations from you, however, it is very important to take a moment and step away from the things giving you stress. Having said that, occasional stress can contribute to High BP, especially if you smoke, eat unhealthy food, and/or drink a high amount of alcohol when you find yourself in a stressful condition.
Additionally, when stressed, your BP rises for some time, and being stressed for too long can lead your BP to remain elevated for a longer period of time. If you find yourself stressed, we advise you to take some time off, evaluate what and why something is stressing you and what can be done about it.
You can also try some stress relief activities which can be performed either in the office, at home, or even outdoors.
Read: Check The 20 Stress Relief Activities For every Age Group (HYPERLINK: https://xploringindia.in/top-20-fun-stress-relief-activities-for-adults-kids-students-employees/)
No matter how much you would hate it, exercising for 30-60 minutes a day is vital, not just for keeping BP under control, but also for the overall wellbeing of the mind and body.
It is said that if a person suffering from High BP exercises 150 minutes a week, his/her BP can come down by 5 mm Hg, but it is very important to remain constant because it is very likely that the BP will rise again if you stop working out.
If you have not been working out lately, we advise you to start slow and start off with a safe routine and pick up the pace gradually. If you do not wish to go to a gym, you can always go for a walk or hiking or even swimming.
According to the AHA (American Heart Association), a person should include muscle-building activities at least 2 days a week. You can try weight-lifting, pushups, chin-ups, pullups, squats or lunges for that.
4. Healthy Diet
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet helps in lowering the problem of High Blood Pressure. The DASH diet does not ask people to eat particular food items but instead provides them with the daily and weekly nutritional goals.
The Dash Plan includes:
- Eating vegetables, whole grains, and fruits
- Fat-free or low fat dairy products, fish, beans, poultry, vegetable oils, and nuts
- Restricting foods that have high amounts of saturated fat, like full-fat dairy products, fatty meats, and even tropical oils like coconut, palm oils, and palm kernel
- Restricting the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets
Additionally, cutting Sodium from the diet goes a long way and can prove vital in lowering the blood pressure. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, if a person only consumes 1,500 milligrams of sodium in a day the blood pressure will be lowered even further than consuming the prescribed amount of 2,300 milligrams.
1,500 milligrams comes out to be a little over half a teaspoon of salt in a day.
For this, instead of using salt, you can use spices and herbs to add the desired flavors.
5. Cut Down On Alcohol
Alcohol has both benefits and disadvantages. The study of Harvard School of Public Health cited that over 100 studies have shown that consuming alcohol in moderation can have an inverse association with risks of peripheral vascular disease, heart attack, clot caused (ischemic) stroke, sudden cardiac death, and death from all cardiovascular causes by 20% – 25%.
The point to be stressed upon there is “moderation”, if you go overboard you will come to face more health issues. Excessive drinking causes many health issues including High BP, additionally, it can reduce the effects of blood pressure medications.
As per the AHA, men should not have more than 2 alcoholic drinks in a day, for women the daily limit is 1 per day.
One alcoholic drink means:
- 350 ml of Beer
- 150 ml of Wine
- 45ml of 40% alcohol liquor
6. Cut Down On Caffeine
How caffeine affects a person varies on the amount of caffeine he/she consumes and its affects on blood pressure are still debated to say the least. A person who never or rarely consumes caffeine may see a rise of up to 10 mm Hg in its blood pressure, but a person who consumes caffeine on a regular basis have little to no effect.
Even though the long term affects on blood pressure of caffeine need more research, it is seen that consuming a huge dose of caffeine can cause high elevations in BP. To see if your body is affected by consuming BP you can do a simple test.
- Check your BP 30 minutes before consuming a beverage that contains caffeine
- Drink the beverage and check your BP again
- If your BP is elevated by 5 or 10 mm Hg, it means you are sensitive to caffeine
Talk to your doctor if your BP elevates by the above-mentioned levels and see if something can be done to tackle it.
7. Cut Down On Smoking
In all honesty, you should quit smoking to control your BP. However, we know that quitting smoking can be a lot harder than said, so we advise you to gradually cut down your cigarette/bidi/cigar and quit eventually.
Every cigarette that one smokes, their BP remains elevated for several minutes even after you finish the cigarette. Plus, if you are a heavy smoker, your BP may remain increased for even longer duration. People suffering from High BP and smoke are at a larger risk of developing Stage 2 High Blood Pressure or even Hypertensive crisis along with the risk of Stroke and Heart Attack. Even passive smoking puts people at risk of High BP and many heart diseases.
Many people do not know they suffer from the problem of high blood pressure until it is late and it has taken its toll on the body. One should check their BP periodically as high blood pressure can cause complications like Heart Attack, Kidney Damage, and even Stroke apart from many other cardiovascular problems.
If not all, try to follow as many of the above mentioned ways to control your Blood Pressure. If you have High BP, making amends to your life style can bring your BP in control, at times even 4 – 5 mm Hg.
Consume alcohol and salt in moderation, and start working out, walking for 30 minutes a day will go a long way. And do not forget to follow some stress relieving activities.