Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. experience hypertension or high blood pressure. This increases the risk for stroke, heart disease, heart attack and other illnesses. So how do we combat high blood pressure so we can live healthier and longer? Let’s first understand what hypertension is and what pressure we should aim for.
According to the Mayo clinic, “High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.”
Blood pressure is measured with two numbers: systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number). A healthy blood pressure is 120 systolic pressure over 80 diastolic pressure. Elevated blood pressure is between 120-129 systolic and below 80 diastolic pressure. The good news is that you can reverse the effects of high blood pressure.
Exercising regularly can significantly help lower blood pressure. Consistently exercising for 30 minutes for most of the week can decrease blood pressure by 5 – 8 mm Hg.
Eating less salt can significantly improve your blood pressure. Choosing low-sodium options or eating less processed foods are great ways to consume less salt in your diet.
According to Dr.Rand McClain at Regenerative and Sports Medicine, “when you’re under stress you’re burning through your magnesium because you’re burning through energy”. Dr.Rand suggests using magnesium glycinate which is absorbed better by the body to help reduce high blood pressure.
Smoking has significant ill effects on blood pressure and overall health. It increases your risk for diseases and raises blood pressure after each cigarette you smoke.
Reducing stress in your day to day life is a great way to bring blood pressure down. Things like yoga or meditation have been helpful for people trying to mitigate hypertension in the body. Make it a point to relax and use all of your PTO days, for the sake of your health!
Drinking alcohol is good in moderation. It’s when we drink too much that we increase our risk of hypertension. Drinking in excess can raise your blood pressure several points.
Caffeine affects everyone differently. In people who don’t usually consume caffeine it can raise their blood pressure 10 mm Hg. However, people who drink coffee or caffeinated beverages regularly could experience little to no effect. Checking your blood pressure half an hour after drinking caffeine will give you a better indication on how it affects you.
If you have high blood pressure, consider incorporating some of these changes into your life. The effect of chronic hypertension can significantly lower your quality of life. By making small healthy changes to reverse hypertension you can live longer, happier, and healthier.