STONE: Get an early start in managing high blood pressure – Odessa American

You can Lower Your High Blood Pressure with Proven Natural Remedies

Do you know what your blood pressure consistently reads? Chances are, you may not and often with little to no symptoms to alert of issues, hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) can sneak up on you. High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer”, and for good reason, because many people simply are unaware they have it. Untreated, it can increase the risks for heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.

Early Start In Managing High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is a contributing or primary cause of death for over 410,000 people and accounts for around 1,100 deaths daily. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 75 million American adults currently have high blood pressure. To put it in more directly, that’s 1 out of every 3 adults in the United States.

Early Start In Managing High Blood Pressure

A few years ago new parameters were set to define high blood pressure; which is any systolic (top number) reading at or above 130 mm/Hg or diastolic (bottom number) readings of at or above 80 mm/Hg. Previously, high blood pressure was considered anything 140/90 or higher. As those guidelines changed so had the term or category of “pre-hypertension”, along the same mindset of the old term “pre-diabetes” is that…you either have high blood pressure or you don’t and there’s no in between.

Early Start In Managing High Blood Pressure

Revising the old definitions were necessary to more aggressively diagnose and treat high blood pressure based on studies concluding that complications occurred at lower blood pressure readings than once previously thought. A proactive focus became greater priority for clinicians to get a head start in managing hypertension before major problems become an issue.

Early Start In Managing High Blood Pressure

Part of that early jump is through dedicated lifestyle modification. All too quickly, we as a society expect a quick fix, often in the form of another prescription. But, while blood pressure medications may be necessary to get things under control, we often fail at taking ownership in addressing the things we can control…particularly what we choose to eat and what we choose (or not choose) in regards to increasing our activity and exercise.

Early Start In Managing High Blood Pressure

Recognizing high blood pressure early, before it gets out of control, and doing something about it can mean not having to take yet another pill. Regular physical activity (as little as 30 minutes per day) can lower your blood pressure by up to 10 mm/Hg. However, consistency is key as not having a routine exercise schedule can put you off track and your blood pressure can go back on the rise. Some of the best exercises include walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or even dancing. And don’t forget about strength training, as it has a positive effect on blood pressure too.

Early Start In Managing High Blood Pressure

Aside from regular exercise, consistent dietary habits are also essential in keeping more pills out of your medicine cabinet. One of the most proven and researched diets to keep and maintain a healthy blood pressure reading is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, also known as the DASH diet. This diet focuses on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables while also reducing the amount of saturated fats and cholesterol in our meals. Some may even venture into a “plant-based” diet which is yielding similar results and positive outcomes.

Early Start In Managing High Blood Pressure

Regardless of which diet you see is right for you, it’s important to also take note of the amount of sodium that can sneakily find its way into food. Shoot for a daily goal of reducing sodium intake to no more than 2,000 mg per day. Some of the best ways to achieve these results include; reading food labels, eating fewer (if not eliminating altogether) processed foods, and simply do not add salt to your dishes. If your palate has a hard time adjusting to the lack of salt, don’t stress and ease into it, it will adjust over time.

Speaking of stress, chronic stress can build upon itself, causing blood pressure to not only rise, but stay high as well. Managing stress is often easier said than done, but there are ways to better control it. This can be done by truly understanding things you can control and dealing with them directly. Ironically, most things that stress us out are things out of our control. Being preoccupied with something we can do nothing about already sets us up for failure and frustration.

Also, identify your triggers. Knowing what sets you off to begin with, means you have an opportunity to avoid it altogether (if possible) or at least make a plan to make it less of a burden or issue. Of course, prayer and meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress as well. Take at least 15-20 minutes, where you can throughout the day, to sit quietly and give yourself some “you” time.

Lastly, and this is a big one, quit tobacco products if you use them. This is anything containing nicotine. That includes cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, or even vaping devices. Quitting tobacco is single handedly one of the most effective and proactive ways to reduce your risk for disease and high blood pressure. Start today by speaking with your doctor and establishing a plan to monitor your blood pressure (at home monitoring units are rather inexpensive and are available at most pharmacies and grocery stores) and control it, before it controls you.