Bringing down the blood pressure levels to normal is undoubtedly going to be a long row to hoe, but with determination and self-control, it is possible. When not controlled, high blood pressure can lead to various health issues including heart disease. For those, who want to control the blood pressure levels, here are useful tips that can help to reach the goal.
1 . Decrease the sodium levels, and increase the potassium intake
Sodium is an essential nutrient required in small amounts for our body. It is necessary for balance of fluids in the body, together with chloride and potassium, and for transmitting impulses in nerves and muscles. According to American Heart Asscociation, foods with rich potassium can lessen the effects of sodium which further helps in lowering the blood pressure. Potassium is recommended at 3225 mg/d for adult sedentary woman and 3750 mg/d for adult sedentary male. Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, peas, lentils, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes; fruits like apricots, bananas, citrus fruits and dairy products are rich in potassium. Nuts, meat and fish (halibut, salmon and sardines) are also good sources of potassium. Sodium consumption should be limited to 1500 mg/day.
2 . Quit smoking
Research studies have shown smoking to be a risk factor for hypertension which reduces life expectancy. Smoking and secondhand smoke have also shown to have increased risk of building fatty substances inside the arteries which leads to artherosclerosis. Recent studies have also shown relation between secondhand smoke exposure associated with heart disease mortality.
3. Shed extra weight and keep watch on the waistline
Blood pressure and weight often increase together. Sleep apnea is a known phenomenon in overweight or obese people. Disturbed sleep can further increase blood pressure levels. Losing weight is one of the natural and efficient ways to control blood pressure. Also, the waistline should be taken care of. Men with awaistline over 40 inches have higher chances of blood pressure shooting up, and in case of women, it is 35 inches.
4. Keep a tab on alcohol consumption
Some studies have shown that moderate alcohol drinking lowers the blood pressure but it essentially depends on the current health status like diet , exercise, sodium intake and stress. Alcohol can also bring down the efficacy of the medicines one consumes for controlling blood pressure levels.
5. Stick to your doctor’s advice
Always take medications that are prescribed by your physician. Do not take blood pressure medicines prescribed for others. Always consult your physician regarding any diet chart and exercise regime.
6. Eat protein-rich foods
Studies have shown that adults consuming more dietry protein had lower long term risks of high blood pressure.Recommended protein intake for healthy adults is 0.8g/kg/d. Poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, lentils and beans are some excellent choices.
7. Cut the caffeine
Decaffeinated coffee is how you need to find solace with if you have high blood pressure. Your most loved caffeinated drink can actually raise your blood pressure levels rather than your mood.
8. Stay off from processed foods
Even foods labeled as low fat can trouble your health, as they are often loaded with salt and sugar. To compensate for the fat, these substances are added to improve the palatability. Processed foods, pizza, canned items, chips and lots more foods you can see on the supermarket shelves contain lots of sodium. Sodium less than 5% is something you can go for.
9. Stress levels
Reducing stress is one of the ways to bring down high blood pressure levels. Any relaxation inducer that you are comfortable with and which is healthy can be tried. You can cling to your favorite book for an hour, do yoga and meditation or listen to music. Even chatting with friends, if it helps you to stay calm, can be a good choice.
10. Sleep tight
Blood pressure levels go down during your sleep. With disturbed sleep, blood pressure levels can go up, say researchers. This is even more possible when the affected belongs to the age group of 30 to 40. If you find hard to fall asleep, then try to take resort of some sleep inducing techniques like early to bed, regular exercise, soothing music, massage, reading a book etc.
Besides regular BP checks, here are the tests to check repercussions of high blood pressure:
- Blood and Urine tests: check kidney condition
- Electrolytes: Potassium, sodium and chloride
- Blood glucose test: to check if diabetes is lurking behind
- Lipid Tests: to check if the lipid levels are in control
- Eye check up: to see if high blood pressure is damaging the retina