Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is often a silent disease, affecting as many as 75 million adults in the U.S. When left untreated, high blood pressure can present a serious threat to your health and can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke and other serious conditions. Unfortunately, it is estimated that only about half of adults with high blood pressure, have their condition under control and are receiving the medical care and supervision they need. There are also home remedies for high blood pressure that can be used.
High blood pressure, whether the numbers are high enough to be considered hypertension, or in the borderline area of prehypertension, is a condition that requires a medical diagnosis and professional guidance for treatment and care. After you have spoken with your doctor about possible treatments, there are additional steps you can take on a daily basis that can have a positive impact on lowering your blood pressure and living your best life.
High Blood Pressure and the Risks to Your Health
For most of us, blood pressure fluctuates mildly every day depending on a number of factors. Your blood pressure might be lower in the morning, when you jump out of bed too quickly, and notably higher in the afternoon, after that stressful meeting at work. Exercise, pain and stress can all produce immediate short term, minor spikes in your blood pressure. These spikes, when temporary, are normal and the reason why doctors will tell you that high blood pressure should not be diagnosed off of one reading alone.
However, when elevated blood pressure persists, it is a sign of hypertension. There are home remedies for high blood pressure to manage this. With hypertension, your heart is working harder to pump blood through your veins and arteries, putting pressure against vascular walls. When left untreated, high blood pressure can cause serious, sometimes life threatening conditions, such as heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, stroke and kidney damage.
Symptoms of Hypertension
The signs of hypertension are not always immediately obvious, which is why high blood pressure is often coined the “silent killer”. In many case, there are not any recognizable symptoms and the ones that someone might experience are quickly dismissed as something else, such as headaches and fatigue.
A sudden, sharp spike in blood pressure is a condition known as a hypertensive crisis and can present with severe chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, blurred vision, nosebleeds, seizure and unresponsiveness. If you experience any of these symptoms suddenly, seek medical attention immediately.
For chronic cases of high blood pressure, the signs are often more subtle. You might notice an increase in headaches, experience fatigue and low energy levels, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, nausea and digestive upset. However, the absence of these symptoms is not a guarantee that your health is not suffering the consequences of hypertension.
Why It’s Important to Manage High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, when left unmanaged, can lead to serious, even life threatening conditions. It’s incredibly important to work with your trusted medical professional in determining a treatment plan that is best suited for your individual case and it is equally important that you stick to it.
Medications are often a doctor’s first line of treatment when presented with a case of hypertension. While many people may balk at the idea of medications and worry over the side effects, it is best to discuss all options with your doctor before making any decisions. High blood pressure is serious enough that medications are often needed to provide more immediate results while working on making other changes in your life that can have a positive effect on your blood pressure numbers.
It’s especially important that blood pressure be managed if you have any coexisting medical conditions. This includes anyone who has hypertension in association with cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, thyroid disease, or if your high blood pressure is the result of other medications you might be taking.
Tips for Managing Blood Pressure at Home
The risk of high blood pressure increases with age, along with other factors including genetics, obesity, eating a diet of highly processed foods, stress, certain medications, smoking and drinking. There is not always a known cause of high blood pressure, but making certain changes to your daily life can help lower your blood pressure numbers and possibly enable you to be less dependent on blood pressure medications.
There are ways you can work toward reducing your blood pressure every day at home. These tips should not be implemented as a substitute for hypertensive medications or medical care, but rather viewed as important components of your hypertension treatment plan.
Regular exercise is good for your overall health for a number of reasons. Daily exercise helps to keep your cardiovascular system in good working order, along with helping you achieve or maintain a healthy weight. Exercise also reduces stress, improves sleep, enhances focus and is likely to play a role in making other healthy decisions.
How much exercise is enough? Push yourself, but do not overdo it. If your current physical state means that you have to push yourself to walk around the block, then start there and work your way up. If you only have 20 minutes in the morning for some yoga, then do it. Ideally, you want to aim for at least 30 minutes daily of exercise that gets your heart pumping.
Eat the Right Foods
A highly processed diet is one that is high in sodium and saturated fats while being devoid of the nutrients your body needs. Nutrients like potassium, magnesium and fiber may help you lower your blood pressure. Aim for a diet that is mostly whole, natural foods and includes lots of unprocessed whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
If you only make one dietary change in the beginning, start by limiting the amount of sodium you consume. It’s best to get your doctor’s advice on this, but for most people, the goal is to stay within 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
Lose the Extra Weight
Weight loss is hard and it is a process that takes longer than most people like. However, being overweight or obese puts you at a greater risk of developing serious health issues, including high blood pressure. Ask your doctor if your weight falls within an acceptable range for managing high blood pressure and then work on developing a weight loss plan that includes lifestyle changes you can stick to.
Kick the Bad Habits
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are connected to an increased risk of hypertension. Not only can these habits cause high blood pressure, they can also play a role in the development of other serious diseases. If you smoke, make a commitment to quit, even if it means asking your doctor about prescription aids. Limit alcohol to ideally no more than two to three drinks per week.
We often underestimate the role that stress plays in our lives. Unfortunately, many of us are also living lives that are more stressful than ever. Stress can become such a regular presence in our lives that we begin to normalize it. Whether you think stress is an issue or not, take steps to make your life more stress free.
This might include streamlining your daily schedule so you are not always on the go, practicing daily mediation or mindfulness, waking up 15 minutes early so you are not so stressed in the morning, taking time to do the things you enjoy, investing in personal relationships, joining support groups to navigate difficult times in your life, or reconsidering your career choice.
High blood pressure is a serious diagnosis, but it is not one that you are powerless over. You do not have to let high blood pressure control your life, or your health. With these home remedies for high blood pressure, it is easy to manage. If you have high blood pressure, or suspect that you do, speak to your doctor about how to treat your condition, both medically and through changes at home, to heal your body, protect your health and live your best possible life.