High blood pressure, also known as Hypertension or High BP is a very common medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is higher than should be. Under normal circumstances, blood pumped by the heart pushes against the walls of blood vessels and through the arteries at a given force. When this force is consistently higher than normal, the arteries gradually get hardened which may further lead to cardiac arrest, stroke or heart diseases if care is not taken.
For many decades, Africans being very superstitious are of the belief that most sudden deaths of middle-aged individuals are spiritually orchestrated. However, the truth remains that whenever you hear that a middle-aged person slumped and died, the most likely culprit for such abrupt death is usually traceable to high blood pressure. Thus, High blood pressure awareness is needed now more than ever in our very busy world.
High blood pressure is a tricky nut to crack because it is usually symptomless. What this means is that many people who experience it may likely not show any noticeable signs. This is why it is often referred to as “the silent killer”. So, the first step to take in controlling high blood pressure is to pay attention to what the numbers are saying via regular check-ups.
Blood Pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). The device used in checking blood pressure is called a Sphygmomanometer or simply a blood pressure monitor. Typically, figures appear at the top and bottom of the screen when your blood pressure is checked. The upper numbers are read as Systolic mm Hg while the lower numbers are read as Diastolic mm Hg.
For most adults, normal ranges are less than 120 for the upper number and less than 80 for the lower numbers (120/80). Anything higher than these is an indication that the blood pressure is elevated and as a result, the individual is at the risk of high blood pressure.
Now, to effectively control or reduce high blood pressure requires a lifelong commitment to steadily check your blood pressure and cooperate with your doctor at every point in time.
The following lifestyle changes have been tested and proven to have great positive results in reducing blood pressure asides medication:
Among the many downsides to smoking is the fact that it also makes it difficult to keep blood pressure in check. Smoking has been linked to cardiac arrest and stroke because it causes a build-up of fatty substances inside the arteries which results in a temporary increase in blood pressure. By avoiding all types of tobacco and secondary smoking, your blood pressure is most likely to be stable. For individuals who already have hypertension, studies show that there is a marked reduction in blood pressure for patients who quit smoking.
Engage in regular exercise:
The importance of regular physical activity cannot be overemphasized when it comes to controlling high blood pressure. By engaging in at least thirty minutes of exercise daily, blood pressure is naturally dropped in a healthy way. Depending on one’s age, the exercises must not necessarily be heavyweight workouts to achieve these great effects. Simply endeavour to carry out activities that keep you active and your heart rate pumping well. Good examples include brisk walking, skipping, cycling and dancing.
By just losing a couple of pounds or kilograms, you can lower your blood pressure if you are overweight. As one’s weight increases, so does their blood pressure, so a good way to control blood pressure is to always maintain a healthy weight. You can achieve this by doing the right exercises and eating the right diet. If you are overweight or obese, there are fun ways to watch your weight. Read more on Healthy Nigerian Smoothies for Weight Loss
Go on a low-carb diet:
It’s amazing how much healthy eating can impact on one’s general health. By reducing sugar-intake and carbohydrates in the body, one can reduce blood pressure effectively. To succeed in this, it is imperative to add more vegetables, fruits, eggs, fish and healthy nuts to your diet. Also, drink lots of water for added benefits.
Find ways to relax:
The number one cause of high blood pressure is stress. Of course, we live in a very busy world with a myriad of work, business and family commitments here and there. To make sure that one does not get overwhelmed and stressed out, it’s beneficial to find ways to relax from all the stress. Quality relaxation helps to keep the blood pressure stable and in check. You can do this by creating time to rest and nap, finding alone-time to meditate, and taking a pause to read your favourite book or see a movie you love.
Add garlic to your diet:
Daily consumption of garlic has been proven to lower high blood pressure in people with hypertension. As an herbal remedy, eating fresh raw garlic enhances the secretion of allicin, an amino acid which helps to regulate blood pressure. You can also take garlic supplements or capsules, but it is more beneficial to have the fresh ones.
Limit your salt intake:
Table salt is one of the major ‘risers’ of blood pressure. An effective way to control blood pressure for people with hypertension is to reduce their intake of salt and salty foods. Using local spices and flavours in place of salt is a good way to cut down on salt intake. It is also important to avoid packaged foods and processed meals as they are a good source of sodium.
Note that this article is not against you taking your medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider but to provide you with lifestyle options that will help you reduce high blood pressure. The goal is to lead a healthy life and ensuring that the blood pressure is controlled effectively.
high blood pressure (Hypertension) is often subtle. This is why it is called the “silent killer” because you are likely not going to feel your blood pressure go high. However, you may experience warning signs that you write off as stress. Pay attention to those warning signs and take practical steps to be in control of your blood pressure levels.
Finally, always get your blood pressure checked at least once in six months!
Medical Disclaimer: KompleteCare™ aims to improve the quality of life for everyone with fact-based content about the nature of diseases, preventive care, behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.