The Dangers Of High BP
Most people know that hypertension or high blood pressure (BP) can be a dangerous health condition that can lead to various problems throughout the body. The condition can cause damage to the arteries, heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. Hypertension can often appear with additional comorbidities, such as diabetes. Left uncontrolled, the risk of stroke and cardiac arrest are possible. While most people manage the condition with medication, other remedies can also work for people that fail to maintain a prescription regimen.
Mind the salt
Sodium chloride, or salt, is a natural seasoning that can make foods taste great, but when used too liberally, the additive can be detrimental. Research suggests that the average American consumes far too much of the white substance daily. While dietary guidelines encourage a daily intake of 2,300mg or less, the average citizen eats as much as 3,400mg daily. To curb sodium, focus on low-sodium or salt-free alternatives. Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods, and avoid processed and packaged foods that often contain high amounts.
Get and stay active
Unsurprisingly, physical exercise and working towards a healthy body weight are cornerstone recommendations for managing many conditions, including hypertension. Research has found that sedentary adults who engage in aerobic exercise can lower blood pressure readings to the same level medications can achieve. Studies have also shown that overweight individuals who engage in weight loss diets can also reduce hypertension with just 5-10 pounds gone.
Avoid the vices
In news that shouldn’t shock any individual, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can both contribute to hypertension. Smoking is a bad habit that has whole-body impacts. As such, stopping tobacco use can help to lessen the effects. Cigarette use has been linked with hardening the blood vessel walls, which translates to higher blood pressure. Overindulging in alcoholic beverages can also lead to higher blood pressure. To stay healthy, focus on moderation when imbibing.
Prioritize better sleep
Getting sufficient shut-eye is critical for the body to function properly. While most people associate getting enough sleep with proper brain function, individuals that suffer from poor sleeping or even sleep deprivation may be at higher risk for hypertension. Note that routinely getting less than 5 hours can also increase a person’s risk. Experts recommend aiming for a range of 7-8 hours each night.
Make dietary changes
While avoiding sodium is important, other foods can also work to reduce hypertension. In particular potassium-rich foods work to counteract the impact of salt while also reducing tension in blood vessels. Curbing sugar and carbs can also lower blood pressure. Eating dark chocolate that contains at least 60-70% cacao aids in reducing the risk of heart disease and inflammation. Consuming garlic and high-protein foods can also help in lowering blood pressure.
Holistic and prescription solutions
While many individuals with hypertension can control the disease with simple lifestyle changes, some people will need to rely on medical interventions. Speaking with a cardiac specialist can help a person with high blood pressure learn how to better manage the condition through both holistic and prescription means. Likewise, individuals concerned about the link between diet and hypertension should consult a registered dietician to work on a healthier meal plan.