Effective Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure
By Godot Media
Chapter 3: Alternate Therapies for High Blood Pressure
The term “alternative therapy” describes any healthcare practice, which is outside the purview of mainstream medicine. Conventional medicinal practices are the ones practiced by physicians and taught in formal medical schools.
The following alternative approaches have exhibited promise when it comes to controlling blood pressure. They are proven to be effective and safe. An alternative approach can help manage or prevent high blood pressure. It is recommended that such methods should be concurrent with conventional treatments. Other lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking, must also be followed. It is a wise decision to consult your physician before starting with alternate therapy for blood pressure.
Measure your BMI
Do calculate your body mass index (BMI) apart from your waistline. These two readings assist to determine whether you are at risk of suffering from high blood pressure. Consult your doctor before you proceed. The BMI measures the height of your body to your weight. When your BMI is known, it is possible to calculate body fat. Waist measurement could point to the risks for the development of high blood pressure.
Weight and blood pressure
Many health benefits can be enjoyed when you maintain an ideal weight. It is proven that even a little loss of weight — as small as 10 pounds — markedly lowers blood pressure.
Blood pressure rises with increase in body weight. Being overweight means becoming more susceptible to health problems. About 60 percent of the adult population is considered to be fat or obese. When you lose weight, the strain on your heart is reduced. Eating well and exercising regularly are the two essentials to maintaining healthy weight.
Weight can be lost only when you intake fewer calories compared to the ones consumed. However, it is impractical to embark on a crash diet to lose a few pounds. The healthy way to do so is to shed flab slowly. The pace can be half to one pound every week. It is achievable by lopping off 500 calories every day through diet and being physically active.
- Consume foods rich in fiber: The list of foods having high fiber include beans, vegetables, dry peas and fruits. Whole grain cereals, breads, rice and pasta are also fiber-rich. They are also low in calories and are excellent sources of minerals and vitamins.
- Select whole wheat over processed starches: All starches are not created equal. You should consume whole grains and give processed foods a miss. One rule of thumb is to eschew the starchy foods, which are mostly white in color. The list includes rice, potatoes, pasta and white bread. Foods made with whole grains have more nutritional value. Consuming them will also make you feel fuller, thereby stopping you from eating much.
- Restrict serving size: If you want to shed weight,you should pay attention not only to the kind of food you eat, but also the amount consumed. Restrict the amount of food you eat. It will help you in consuming fewer calories. A smaller portion size is much better for your health as well. Try to control yourself and not ask for second servings.
Manage high blood pressure
You can reduce your susceptibility to heart disease and blood pressure by making a few lifestyle changes. If you follow a healthy life, you can reduce or even avoid taking any conventional medication.
Watch waistline and shed excess pounds
Rise in blood pressure is directly proportional to increase in weight. When you are overweight, there is a higher chance of disrupted breathing or sleep apnea when you rest for the night. It further increases blood pressure.
Losing weight is effective in controlling blood pressure. Other than shedding body flab, you must also be wary about your waistline. Higher blood pressure has direct correlation with bigger waist sizes.
Men can face health problems when their waist measurement exceeds 40 inches or 102 centimeters
Women can face health problems when their waist measurement exceeds 35 inches or 89 centimeters.
These numbers vary according to ethnicity. Consult your doctor about your healthy waist measurement.
You can lower blood pressure through regular physical activity. It can be done for 30 minutes every day and has the beneficial effect of lowering blood pressure to about 9 mmHg. It is important to do regular exercises as blood pressure may spike up again when you stop exercising.
In case you suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure, regular exercise can lower the pressure to safer levels. If your blood pressure is a little higher than normal, some physical activity could stop you from getting full blown hypertension. The best kind of exercise in such a case is to walk or jog. You can also dance, swim or cycle to fitness. Do consult your physician prior to starting such a program.
Walk for health
Walking is an excellent method to improve the BMI, and reduce fat which exists in the middle section of your body. It will also lower your blood pressure. Net calorie intake of your body is also reduced.
Follow a healthy diet
Consume a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and fruits. They have low cholesterol and saturated fat. Following such dietary regimen could reduce blood pressure. Such an eating plan is popularly known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or the DASH diet.
Changing what you eat can be hard, but you can follow a healthy diet if you take note of a few tips:
- Keep your own food diary: Write what you eat. It will give a clearer picture of your actual eating habits. Monitor your food intake. Note the items you eat, and their quantities. Note down the time and the reason you are eating at that particular time.
- Consider taking more potassium: It can reduce sodium related effects on blood pressure. Food is the best option for taking potassium in the body. Instead of supplements, eat vegetables and fruits. Consult your doctor about your ideal potassium level.
- Shop and eat smartly: Read the food labels when you buy them. Continue to adhere to healthy options even who you eat out at a restaurant or cafe.
Minimize sodium intake
Even a small sodium reduction in diet can result in reduction of blood pressure. The pressure can go down by eight millimeter Hg. Different people exhibit varying effects post sodium absorption into their bodies. Sodium intake should, in general, be restricted to a maximum of 2,300 milligrams per day. It is to be noted that lower sodium intake of about 1,500 milligrams per day is appropriate for individuals having higher sensitivity towards salt, like:
- Any person who is 51 years of age or older
- Any person already suffering from diabetes, chronic kidney disease or high blood pressure.
Sodium can be eaten in lesser quantities through the following actions:
- Go through the food labels: Select low sodium food alternatives if possible. Read the labels affixed to the beverages and foods you generally buy from the market.
- Consume fewer processed foods: Natural foods contain a minuscule amount of sodium. Major proportion of the sodium comes into the food when it is processed.
- Go easy on the salt: One tablespoon salt contains 2,300mg sodium. In lieu of salt, use spices or even herbs.
- Adopt your new and healthy diet in a gradual manner: Cut back on your sodium intake if it is not possible for you to slash your sodium intake by a drastic amount. Your palate will adjust itself with the passage of time.
Restrict the quantity of alcohol
When you drink in small amounts, your blood pressure may drop to 4 mm Hg. However, when you consume excess alcohol, it may lead to health problems. For women, it is one drink every day. The quantity is applicable for men above 65 years of age too. If you are a man, and below 65 years of age, limit yourself to two drinks every day. One drink means 12 ounces of beer or five ounces of wine.
Drinking alcohol in excess could raise the blood pressure by a number of points. Consuming excessive alcohol could also reduce the effect of medications given for treating blood pressure.
When you smoke a cigarette, your blood pressure goes up for a number of minutes. When you stop smoking, your blood pressure reverts to normal. It is observed that individuals who have left their smoking habit enjoy noticeable increases in their life expectancies. The observation holds true independent of age.
Drink caffeine in lower amounts
A lot of debate continues to rage on concerning the role of caffeine on blood pressure. Caffeine may increase the blood pressure by a whopping 10 milliliters Hg in individuals who occasionally consume the substance. On the flip side, the compound has no effect on the blood pressure of habitual coffee drinkers.
Even as there is no clarity when it comes to the effects of ingesting caffeine in a regular manner, a possibility exists that the compound leads to an increase in blood pressure. To verify whether caffeine increases your blood pressure or not, check pressure within a span of 30 minutes after drinking any beverage containing the compound. If there is a rise in blood pressure ranging between 5 and 10 milliliters Hg, then you are classified as sensitive to caffeine’s blood pressure rise effects. Consult your doctor about the rise in pressure.
A major contributor to increase in blood pressure is chronic stress. Even occasional stress could contribute to a rise in blood pressure. It could result from consuming unhealthy food, smoking or drinking alcohol.
To check this, take some time off from your daily schedule. Think about the reasons for which you feel stressed. They could be illness, work, finances or family. If you know the cause of your stress, you can easily reduce it or even eliminate it altogether.
In case it is impossible for you to eliminate all the stress factors, you could tackle them in a much healthier manner, like:
- Try to change what you expect from both your personal and professional lives: Grant yourself a few slices of time so that you can get the important things done. You should learn how to say no and live within your means. Understand that there are some things in this world you cannot change.
- Understand what triggers your stress levels: Avoid stress triggers. To give an example, spend comparatively less time with those individuals who bother you. Avoid high stress situations like driving your car in peak hour traffic.
- Think about the problems you can control and then make plans so that you can solve them: If you face difficulties at your workplace, bring them up with your boss. If you are feeling stressed about family problems, discuss it with your loved ones in your home.
- Make time for yourself: Take away about 20 minutes from your daily schedule to sit quietly. Take a deep breath and think happy thoughts. Try to what you enjoy and not hurry through all the “relaxation” inducing activities. There is no need for a stressful pace.
- Be grateful: When you express gratitude to others, you also reduce your stress levels. It goes a long way in maintaining excellent health.
Check blood pressure regularly and see your physician at periodic intervals
You should regularly check your blood pressure at home. Make sure that the changes you have made in your lifestyle are giving you the desired results. If there is a potential problem, do not hesitate to inform your physician. You can purchase a blood pressure monitor without any prescription. They are available at many stores and you will have no problem locating the device and buying it. Consult your doctor about monitoring your stress levels at home prior to starting.
It is important that you regularly visit your doctor. The action is important to control blood pressure. When you keep your blood pressure within acceptable limits, there is a need to visit a doctor on intervals of six months. If your blood pressure fluctuates, there exists a compelling need to visit your doctor more often.
Your health will improve if you get a supportive family and good friends. They will encourage you in a number of ways. You will be looked after, and driven to the doctor’s chamber if such a need arises. You can also start an exercise program. Exercises helps to keep the blood pressure low.
In case you find yourself isolated, consider being a member of any support group. It will place you in contact with individuals who may provide you a morale or emotional boost. They can even provide practical tips so that you can cope with the condition.
Selecting blood pressure medication
Choosing the correct blood pressure medication is a tricky affair. A number of anti-hypersensitives or medications specially made for high blood pressure patients are available. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Your physician will prescribe the best suitable medicine for you as per your condition. It is advisable to go for lifestyle changes to keep your blood pressure under control. In some cases, there is no need for you to take any medication at all.
High blood pressure (stage 1) medications
If you suffer from stage 1 high blood pressure (ranging between 140/90 and 159.99 mm Hg), then you should adopt a number of healthy lifestyle changes. Your aim is to decrease the numbers. Medications will be prescribed by your doctor. The list of choices are:
Diuretics: It could be the first choice of your doctor. Diuretics or water pills function by flushing away the excess sodium and water away from your body. It lowers the blood pressure and could be sufficient along with changes in lifestyle to control the blood pressure.
Diuretics available in the market are of three types and the preferred one is a thiazide diuretic. It has much fewer side effects compared to other kinds of diuretics. It also provides excellent protection against a number of conditions which cause high blood pressure, like heart failure and stroke. It may be so that a diuretic could be the only medication against high blood pressure you need. However, your doctor, under a few circumstances, may recommend a different line of medication or could suggest another medication.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers: They assist to relax the blood vessels by blocking angiotensin action. The list of of prescribed blockers under the angiotensin II receptor category include candesartan (Atacand), valsartan (Diovan) and losartan (Cozaar).
Angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors: They permit the widening of blood vessels by preventing angiotensin hormone formation. The list of oft prescribed inhibitors include lisinopril (Zestril and Prinivil), ramipril (Altace) and enalapril (Vasotec).
Beta blockers: They function by blocking a few particular hormonal and nerve signals to blood vessels and heart. They lower the blood pressure.
Calcium channel blockers: They bar the calcium from entering the blood vessel and heart muscle cells. It results in relaxing the cells, thus lowering the blood pressure.
Renin inhibitors: Your kidneys produce the Renin enzyme. It begins a series of chemical reactions, which lead to the rise in blood pressure. The Aliskiren or Tekturna slows down Renin production, thereby inhibiting its ability for starting the process. There is a risk of suffering serious complications, which includes the chance of suffering a stroke. Aliskiren should not be taken with angiotensin II receptor blockers or ACE inhibitors for kidney disease or diabetes patients.
These medicines are effective in lowering the blood pressure compared to a diuretic. There will be reduction of risk when it comes to developing complications due to high blood pressure. When you combine medications of different classes, you can take smaller doses of all classes. It will reduce any side effects and could be economical too. The selections of combination medication is dependent on the individual circumstances.
High blood pressure (stage 2) medications
If you suffer from stage 2 high blood pressure (greater than 160/100 mm Hg), you must take a minimum of two blood pressure medication on the start of treatment. Your physician will likely write a prescription of a thiazide diuretic, which will lower your blood pressure. The doctor may also prescribe an extra drug to go with the diuretic. The list of drugs include ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin II receptor
blockers, calcium channel blockers, beta blockers and Renin inhibitors.
If these medicines are ineffective in lowering the blood pressure, then your physician could recommend a number of extra medications, like a vasodilator or alpha blocker. These are strong medications and could cause an increase in side effects compared to a number of other medications treating blood pressure.
When the blood pressure is extremely high, it is important to make it lower swiftly to delay or prevent complications like kidney damage or even heart failure. Rather than a single drug, physicians prescribe a combination of two drugs to push your blood pressure to acceptable levels. Occasionally another medication — a third one — and possibly more could be required to achieve the blood pressure aim. The best method is a mix of medication and lifestyle changes to control blood pressure. If that is achieved, your physician could recommend an incremental increase in the medications. Your blood pressure will be monitored throughout the process. However, it is inadvisable to do this all by yourself. Keeping blood pressure under control means longer lives, with much fewer health complications.