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Home » Health and Wellness » How To Bring Down Blood Pressure Quickly? Tips, Tricks and Advice
Were you recently diagnosed with high blood pressure? If so, you probably have a lot of questions, like “Why me?” and “Now what?” Learning how to bring down blood pressure quickly will help you prevent medical conditions from getting worse.
The first thing you should know is that while high blood pressure is serious, it’s not a death sentence. Millions of adults live with high blood pressure every day. As long as it’s treated, you can maintain a great quality of life with high blood pressure and keep your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other complications low.
The American Heart Association defines high blood pressure as the force of blood being pumped through the vessels as being consistently too high. To bring down blood pressure, you need to understand what causes it. This is the basic information everyone should know about high blood pressure.
In order to supply your body with oxygenated blood, your heart pushes blood through arteries. When the pressure of blood pushing against blood vessel walls is too high, this is known as high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure means your circulatory system has to work harder to move blood through the body.
A blood pressure reading includes two numbers: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure (the top number) refers to the pressure when your heart is pumping blood. Diastolic pressure (the bottom number) is when your heart is at rest. If your systolic blood pressure is over 130 or diastolic pressure is over 80, you meet the criteria for high blood pressure. A systolic reading of 120-129 is considered elevated blood pressure and means you’re likely to develop high blood pressure without intervention.
A number of things contribute to high blood pressure, including genetics, age, weight, diet, and exercise. In most people, high blood pressure is the result of several risk factors, not one single cause.
Some people have trouble accepting a hypertension diagnosis due to a lack of symptoms or a concrete cause. The truth is, nearly half of all American adults have high blood pressure — 103 million in total. Cardiovascular diseases including hypertension and heart disease are the leading cause of death worldwide.
High blood pressure damages artery walls, allowing deposits like cholesterol and plaque to accumulate and making the heart work harder to supply blood to organs. Over time, untreated hypertension can cause angina, peripheral artery disease, heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, and other complications.
High blood pressure is curable in some cases when high blood pressure is caused by another health condition. However, the majority of cases — 90 percent — are considered primary hypertension and can only be managed, not cured. Luckily, high blood pressure can be well-controlled through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
Even if your hypertension is incurable, managing the condition has big benefits for your health. By lowering your blood pressure, you reduce your risk of developing other chronic health conditions, some of which could be fatal. These are the best things you can do to reduce your blood pressure — including strategies and dietary approaches that stop hypertension.
Excess weight is behind more than one in four cases of hypertension. While staying trim isn’t guaranteed to prevent hypertension, if you’re overweight and have high blood pressure, losing the extra pounds is one of the smartest things you can do. Obesity Action reports that dropping 10 percent of your body weight could bring down blood pressure as much as 4.3/3.8 mmHg. Talk to your doctor about joining a weight loss program.
Getting more exercise is a smart move if you’re trying to lose weight, but that’s not the only reason adults with high blood pressure should work out. Exercise also strengthens your cardiovascular system, so it doesn’t have to work as hard, and it improves stress and sleep.
Exercise has long-term benefits for blood pressure, but you’ll notice its effects in the short-term, too. According to MedPage Today, a 30-minute morning workout lowers blood pressure an average of 3.4/08 mmHg for eight hours. If you stay active throughout the day, you can bring down blood pressure even more. That makes exercise one of the quickest things you can do for lower blood pressure.
Those late nights are doing more than tanking your productivity. Getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night is associated with higher blood pressure than sleeping seven to eight hours nightly. Poor sleep also increases your risk of obesity. If you’re struggling to fall and stay asleep, examine your sleep hygiene and sleep environment.
Pain and pressure are common causes of sleep disruptions; if your bed is causing discomfort, you may need a mattress that’s more suited to your body type. In addition to sleep position, consider your weight. A memory foam mattress that’s comfortable for a more petite person, may lack the cushion and durability a heavier person needs. According to MySlumberYard, coil mattresses are generally accepted to be the best option for a large person.
It’s possible to have impeccable bedtime habits and still get poor sleep, especially if you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of treatment-resistant hypertension. If you’ve tried blood pressure medication but your readings haven’t improved, get a sleep study even if you don’t think you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea isn’t always obvious to people who live with it and treating undiagnosed apnea can solve a number of issues including daytime sleepiness, snoring, and hypertension.
A healthy diet is the third key to losing weight and lowering your blood pressure. While cutting back on salt won’t lower your weight directly, avoiding the biggest sodium bombs will. That’s because many of the foods that are high in sodium — think frozen dinners, packaged breads and pastries, and processed meats — are also high in calories, sugar, and saturated fats. However, healthy foods like canned vegetables and soups can be surprisingly high in sodium, too. Processed foods are often quick and easy, but their sodium content can be harmful to your health. Foods that are processed generally include foods that are frozen, canned, dried, baked, or pasteurized. Avoiding such foods can reduce sodium intake and help keep your heart health in check.
Why avoid sodium? While sodium might not increase the risk of hypertension in people with healthy blood pressure, there’s a clear correlation between salt intake and blood pressure in people with hypertension. In addition to staying under 2,300 mg of sodium per day, include potassium-rich foods like bananas, salmon, yogurt, sweet potatoes, and winter squash in your diet.
If you want to improve your blood pressure overnight, quit smoking. Within one day of quitting smoking, your blood pressure drops, and your risk of a heart attack decreases. Within a year, your risk of heart disease is cut in half, and after five years your arteries and blood vessels begin to heal.
Smoking isn’t the only bad habit that’s raising your blood pressure. Excessive drinking is also associated with hypertension. Luckily, the effects are quickly reversible once you stop. After only a month of not drinking, a moderate drinker’s blood pressure drops significantly.
Chronic stress is a major contributor to hypertension due to the ways stress affects behavior. Unfortunately, if you’re trying to lose weight, stop drinking, and quit smoking to lower your blood pressure, it might feel like your stress is at an all-time high. Once you get used to your new healthy habits, you’ll feel less stressed than ever. In the meantime, combat moments of high stress with meditation, exercise, and spending time outdoors.
Sometimes the things you do to improve your health harm it in other ways. There are a number of medications that are known to raise blood pressure, including over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen, birth control containing estrogen, and medications used to treat depression, anxiety, and ADHD. If you have hypertension and take medications that can increase blood pressure, talk to your doctor to see if there’s a better fit medication for you.
There are several types of hypertension medications that work in different ways to control blood pressure. These include ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and vasodilators, among others.
The different types of medications also have their own sets of side effects. Since some medications may interact with other health conditions you have, it’s important to discuss your health history and hypertension risk factors to determine the best drug to treat your high blood pressure. When starting a new blood pressure medication, monitor for complications and talk to your doctor if you have chest pain, fainting, swelling, or breathing problems.
Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce blood pressure in those struggling with hypertension. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that help dilate blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. It is important to note that the dark chocolate you get should be around 60-70 percent cacao.
Are you trying to keep your blood pressure down but struggling to afford expensive hypertension medications? While tips like these can help bring down blood pressure, they’re not a substitute for prescription medications. Instead of going without your meds and putting your health at risk, use Prescription Hope to access affordable name-brand prescriptions for only $50 a month for each medication. Enroll with us to find out if you are eligible.
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