Blood Pressure is defined as that force which is exerted by blood on the walls of the arteries as it flows through them. Normal BP is essential for survival but elevated level can cause many problems. You can think of analogy of a garden hose pipe connected to tap. When tap is turned, water comes out of the hose pipe and exerted pressure in it on its walls, the pressure increases proportionally in response to decrease in size of hose (like by some obstruction in it)or by increase in flow of amount of water. The arteries are similar to hosepipe and heart to tap, whenever there is some obstruction in arteries like cholesterol plaque or loss of elasticity BP increases.
The systolic BP is the highest pressure that occurs each time the heart beats, and diastolic BP, is the lowest pressure that occurs when the heart relaxes between beats. Rise in any of them can cause problem.
Normal blood pressure is currently defined as a SBP lower than 120 mm Hg and a DBP lower than 80 mm Hg. When an otherwise healthy person has BP that is consistently over 140/90 mmHg, he has high BP. If either diabetes or kidney disease is present along, BP is deemed high if it normally registers 130/80 mmHg or more. Also called hypertension, high BP is a widespread health problem. A reduction in BP of 10/5 mmHg reduces the risk of developing heart failure by 50%, stroke by approximately 40%, heart attack by 15 and death by 10%.
These are some of manifold lifestyle interventions, which can lower your hypertension and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
1. Lose some extra weight.
Blood pressure often increases with increase in weight. Losing 10 pounds (4.5 kg) can reduce both systolic and diastolic Blood pressure by about seven mmHg. In general losing weight reduces your blood pressure till you reach optimum weight for your height. Losing weight also increases the efficiency of anti-hypertensive drugs. In relation to increased blood pressure weight around your waistline is more important to control.
2. Dietary changes.
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 by up to 14 mm Hg. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
The DASH diet eating plan has been shown to lower blood pressure in studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.The DASH emphasis on real foods, heavy on fruits and vegetables, balanced with the right amount of protein. DASH is also the perfect weight losing prescription. It is satisfying and healthy so one can easily follow it. And also it can be planned with your entire family.
3. Mild exercise
According to Canadian Hypertensive Education Program, exercising four or more times per week for more than 30 minutes a session can reduce BP by 5 mmHg to 15 mmHg.
4. Reduce sodium in your diet
- Even a small decrease in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure significantly. Reduce levels of sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less.
- For people 51 years of age or older and for any person also having diabetes and kidney disease along with high BP, the sodium intake in diet should be 1,500 mg a day or less.
- Try to keep record of amount of salt you eat daily
- Avoid processed foods like potato chips. Potato chips, frozen dinners, bacon and processed lunch meats are high in sodium.
- Don’t sprinkle salt on salads.one teaspoon of salt has enough salt to fulfill full day requirements. You can use other spices and potassium chloride salt
- Cut your sodium need slowly.
5. Avoid over drinking.
- Alcohol in excess (more than 1 drink a day for women and elderly men and more than 2 drinks a day for younger men) can increase your blood pressure.
- Always keep record of your alcohol intake.
- Try to slowly reduce your alcohol intake
- Binge drinking can suddenly increase the blood pressure and is more harmful.
6. Avoid tobacco products and passive smoking.
The nicotine present in tobacco products can raise your blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg in an hour after you smoke. A person with high BP should avoid passive secondhand smoke.
7. Reduce intake of caffeine.
The effect caffeine has on blood pressure is still under debate. Drinking caffeinated beverages can temporarily cause your blood pressure to peak. In general, some persons may be sensitive to caffeine.one should check BP within half an hour after taking caffeinated drink. If the BP rises by more than 10 mm then one is sensitive.
8. Reduce stress.
Stress or anxiety can elevate blood pressure. Follow some stress reducing technique like yoga, massage or meditation to reduce stress.
9. Regular Monitoring of blood pressure
Regular monitoring of your blood pressure keeps you conscious and motivates you to make necessary interventions to reduce it. If your BP is consistently high visit your doctor.
10. Family and community support.
Family, friends and workplace colleagues can provide you with regular emotional support. Try to talk with your trusted family member whenever you feel let down.