World Hypertension Day is observed annually on May 17th to raise awareness about hypertension, its prevention, detection, and control, a condition that affects an estimated 1.28 billion individuals worldwide .
Hypertension is often called the “silent killer” because it usually has no symptoms but can cause serious health problems . A little effort to manage your blood pressure can go a long way in reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke, which are one-third of the leading causes of death in India. Revised guidelines for the management of high blood pressure state that it should be controlled and treated earlier with lifestyle changes and in some individuals with medication – at 130/80 mm Hg rather than 140/90 mm Hg . Adapting a healthy lifestyle can help potentially delay mitigate or decrease dependence on medication.
Here are 10 transformative lifestyle shifts that can effectively lower and sustain optimal blood pressure levels:
1. Keep your weight in check: Obesity and being overweight may cause additional health problems with high blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight can have a significant impact on your blood pressure.
Reach out to the healthcare team today for your weight wellness roadmap.
2. Adopt the DASH diet: The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products, has been proven to lower blood pressure. This dietary plan aims to improve blood vessel function by increasing potassium intake while reducing sodium intake.
3. Get moving: Regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, can lower blood pressure by 5 to 8 mm Hg. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week and strength training exercises at least two days a week .
4. Reduce sodium intake: Sodium needs to be tamed! Limiting sodium consumption to less than 2,300 milligrams per day (or even lower for certain individuals) can help lower blood pressure. Checking labels and reducing preservatives can help reduce sodium intake.
5. Cut back on alcohol: Drinking in moderation (up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men) can help lower blood pressure. Excessive alcohol intake can raise blood pressure and also reduce the effect of medication.
6. Quit smoking: Smoking can raise blood pressure and damage blood vessels. Quitting smoking can reduce blood pressure and hence your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Quitting may not be easy but the overall health benefits and blood pressure control are worth the effort. Start your smoke-free journey today!
7. Manage stress: Chronic stress can cause hypertension. Know your stress triggers and manage stress using activities like deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to improve your emotional and physical health, as well as lower your blood pressure.
8. Sleep well: Poor sleep quality contributes to hypertension by increasing sympathetic nervous system activity, disrupting the circadian rhythm, and affecting hormone balance. Over time, these factors contribute to the progression of hypertension and other risk factors for heart disease.
Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep with safe and effective sleep aids to support your blood pressure goals. Explore here!
9. Keep track of your blood pressure: Regular monitoring can enable you to gain insights, make informed choices, and collaborate with your healthcare provider. Check your blood pressure frequently and keep track of your heart rate.
Take charge and unlock your path to a healthier life!
Track your numbers with timely monitoring!
10. Manage diabetes: High blood pressure commonly coexists with diabetes, affecting approximately 60% of individuals with this condition. Managing your blood sugar can help control your blood pressure.
Control diabetes and BP together, and pave the way to a healthier, happier you!
Adapting natural approaches to managing hypertension offers an achievable pathway to better health. By prioritizing lifestyle changes, such as a diet, physical activity, and stress reduction, you can effectively control your blood pressure and enhance your overall well-being. Take charge of your health naturally to enjoy the benefits of a balanced, hypertension-free life.
(The article is written by Dr.Subita Alagh, Senior Executive, and reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. World Health Organization: World Hypertension Day: “Measure your blood pressure, control it, live longer”
2. Why High Blood Pressure is a “Silent Killer”
3. World Health Organization: Hypertension in India
4. American College of Cardiology
5. National Institutes of Health
6. CDC: Prevent High Blood Pressure
7. Mayo Clinic: 10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication
8. American Heart Organization: Shaking the Salt Habit to Lower High Blood Pressure
9. Mayo Clinic: Sleep deprivation: A cause of high blood pressure?
10. CDC: Manage High Blood Pressure