7 ways to decrease high blood pressure without medication

7 ways to decrease high blood pressure without medication
January 9, 2014 3:09 AM

Blood pressure is the force exerted by flowing blood on the walls of blood vessels. The normal value of blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg, where 120 mm Hg is the systolic and 80mmHg is the diastolic blood pressure. You’re hypertensive if your blood pressure consistently remains above 140/100 mm Hg. Every 1 in 3 American adults has hypertension

But what makes hypertension so dangerous? What possible complications or health risks does high blood pressure have? Following is few among the long list of health risks of high blood pressure:

  • High blood pressure has damaging effects on heart. It can lead to coronary artery disease, heart attacks and angina. 
  • Untreated high blood pressure can lead to stroke. 
  • Kidney damage is another major complication of high blood pressure. 
  • High blood pressure adversely effects memory and thinking process. 
  • It can lead to loss of vision. 
  • Sexual health is also at risk as high blood pressure can lead to erectile dysfunction. 
  • Pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs) is another major side effect of hypertension. 

7 ways to get rid of hypertension without medication 

If you’ve hypertension then your physician would recommend you a long of medicines that you would have to eat for a very long period of time. No one likes eating medicines, that’s a fact. So, what can you do to lower your blood pressure without eating a handful of medicines? Is there some natural ways that you can use to lower high blood pressure? Well, yes. There are a number of natural ways to lower pressure. Top 7 of these ways are discussed in detail in the text to follow. 

Tip # 1 - Lose extra pounds

Weight gain means extra fat and cholesterol in your body. These components ultimately lead to the narrowing of the lumen of blood vessels and high blood pressure as a result. Losing weight alone can significantly reduce the level of these substances, resulting in a significant decrease in blood pressure. If you lose as much as 8 kg of your weight, your blood pressure will reduce by an average value of 8.5 mm Hg systolic blood pressure and 6.5 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure.

Tip # 2- Exercise regularly

Regular exercise is another effective way to lower blood pressure. Research has proven that 20-60 minute of aerobic exercise 3-5 times a week can help reduce as much as almost 4 mm Hg systolic blood pressure and 2.6 mm Hg diastolic pressure. Wait there is more to it. Exercise helps reduce blood pressure in both acute (immediate) and chronic (long term) settings. After exercise there is an immediate reduction in blood pressure, known as post-exercise hypotension. This sudden decrease in blood pressure can be attributed to the decrease in peripheral resistance of blood vessels (one of the major determinant of blood pressure). In longer run, exercise helps reduce blood pressure in two ways. First, it helps decrease vascular resistance. Second, it helps lower the level of antiogensin- a hormone that causes water retention and constriction of blood vessels leading to an increase in blood vessels. 

Tip # 3 - Eat healthy

A special diet is designed for people having high blood pressure. This diet is known as DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension). This diet is rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, beans, poultry and low dairy food. This diet puts restriction on excessive use of red meat, sugar sweetened food and high fat diet. Several researches have proven that use of DASH diet can significantly lower blood pressure. By an average, this diet can lower systolic blood pressure by 11.4 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 5.5 mm Hg.

It’s interesting to note here that if all three of the above components i.e. weight loss, regular exercise and DASH diet, are combined the effects on blood pressure decrease are also additive. Combining all these factors can lower blood pressure by 12.5 and 8 mm Hg systolic and diastolic respectively. 

Tip # 4 - Limit your sodium intake

Limiting your sodium intake to a value of 2300 milligram or less can significantly reduce blood pressure. This is the simplest thing you can do when it comes to reducing blood pressure. Excess sodium intakes leads to excessive water retention through kidneys and greater volume of blood. The result of which is hypertension. Eating a low sodium diet can help reduce blood pressure by 2-8 mm Hg. All you need to do for limiting the intake of sodium is reading the labels of food products before you buy them and know the amount of sodium in them, avoid the use of adding extra salt in your daily food and avoiding consuming too much processed food as processed foods contain large amount of salt in them. 

Tip # 5 - Limit the intake of alcohol

Reducing the intake of alcohol or totally abstaining from the intake of alcohol is also beneficial for reducing blood pressure. One study shows that abstaining from alcohol can reduce systolic blood pressure by a value of 7.2 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 6.9 mm Hg.

Tip # 6 - Manage your stress

It’s a generally agreed fact that stress and anxiety can lead to hypertension. It’s a common observation that hypertension and high blood pressure is common among individuals that are in the habit of living a stressful life. So, what you can do for your health in this regard is lower the level of your stress. Reduction in stress would result in a decrease in your blood pressure as well. Anything that helps you reduce your stress can help manage blood pressure. Such activities might include talking a regular walk, yoga and meditation. 

Tip # 7- Quit smoking

Use of tobacco products or chronic smoking can cause serious damage to both your heart and blood vessels, the results of which is hypertension. There is a strong link between incidences of diseases like hypertension, stroke, angina and heart failure among smokers. The best thing you can do quite smoking altogether. Slowly tapper this habit to ultimately zero cigarettes per day. 

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Medical student, 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Published: January 9, 2014 3:09 AM
Next scheduled update: January 9, 2016 3:09 AM
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