5 Home Remedies to Lower Blood Pressure

Commonly known as high blood pressure, hypertension is a condition that usually occurs as one gets older. This is characterized as having an increased force of blood that hits the artery walls, causing serious damage to it. High blood pressure also forces the heart to work more, which can lead to strokes, heart, and kidney diseases. [1]

A blood pressure below 120/80 is considered normal. Blood pressures ranging from 120/80 to 139/89 are considered pre-hypertension; blood pressure of 140/90 and above is high.

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Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

People with high blood pressure may experience any of these symptoms:

• Headache
• Dizziness
• Blurred vision
• Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus)
• Facial flushing

If the condition goes untreated, high blood pressure can cause the following complications:

• Heart attack or failure
• Kidney failure
• Peripheral arterial disease
• Retinopathy

According to the American Heart Association, approximately one out of three adults in the US has high blood pressure. In addition, around 2 million teens and children are also suffering from this condition, and most of these cases are underdiagnosed, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Lifestyle changes that involve proper diet and regular exercise are just some of the necessary modifications to improve the condition. Here are some tips and home remedies to lower blood pressure:

(1) Alcohol.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce wine, or 1.5-ounces of 80-proof distilled spirit counts as one drink. [2]

People who had over two drinks every day have a two-fold increased risk for hypertension. As alcohol intake increases to five drinks per day, the link between high blood pressure and alcohol becomes stronger and more noticeable. To lower the blood pressure, one should limit their alcohol consumption at a minimum.

(2) Smoking.

Smoking can trigger vascular complications like heart disease and stroke in people suffering from high blood pressure. But experts say it is not a risk-increasing factor. Cigarette smoking, however, may cause a temporary rise in blood pressure.

Surprisingly, steady smokers have lower blood pressure compared to nonsmokers. Continuous nicotine intake can trigger a loss of appetite, which leads to weight loss and a lowered blood pressure.

(3) Coffee and caffeine.

According to research, elderly people with hypertension who consumed five cups of coffee every day experienced a mild rise in blood pressure compared to those with normal blood pressure. If you add smoking to the equation, this makes for a dangerous combination. For people with high blood pressure, experts recommend limiting caffeine intake to control the condition. This also includes limiting the intake of energy drinks, soda, and cola. [3]

(4) Salt.

Consumption of dietary salt should not exceed six grams per day. As for people with high blood pressure, it should not exceed four grams. To achieve minimal salt consumption, try not to add salt on food or while cooking it. Also, limit consumption of salt substitutes as well. Some ingredients can also increase blood pressure.

(5) Potassium.

Research shows that people who add more potassium in their diet are likely to have lower blood pressure. Bananas, oranges, melons, zucchini, and spinach are some of the good sources of potassium. [4]

People with high blood pressure are also advised to take steps to lower their cholesterol levels by avoiding fatty food. Experts also advise taking garlic and flaxseed supplements, which show beneficial effects against hypertension. Other home remedies to lower blood pressure include taking calcium and magnesium supplements and fish oil.

Obesity as a Risk Factor for High Blood Pressure

Obesity, or being overweight, contributes to the risk for high blood pressure. In overweight individuals, their heart has to work double time so it could supply enough blood to the excess tissues. This cardiac activity results in high blood pressure. Obesity is also linked with salt retention in the kidneys.

Losing excess weight may reverse health conditions related to obesity or being overweight. With just as little as 10 to 20 pounds, one can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing heart problems.

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, waist size is a good indicator for a person’s predisposition regarding blood pressure compared to body mass index (BMI). The journal also said that men should aim for a waist size of 35 inches or below. Women, on the other hand, should strive for 33 inches or below. [4]

Sleep Apnea Contributes to Hypertension Development

Most obese or overweight individuals suffer from a condition known as sleep apnea. This condition is characterized as having breathing interruptions during sleep. In turn, sleep apnea is a contributing risk factor for high blood pressure.

Repeated occasions of breathing interruptions trigger oxygen deficiency, which causes the adrenal gland to produce more adrenaline. This results in an increase of blood pressure. [4]

Exercise, Stress Reduction, and Relaxation Techniques to Lower Blood Pressure

Engaging in a regular exercise regimen can lower blood pressure. Try walking, jogging, biking, or swimming for at least 30 minutes per session. Studies also show that as one increases the amount of exercise, their blood pressure also lowers. However, any exercise program should be approved first by a physician.

Relaxation methods aimed at lowering stress levels can also help lower blood pressure. These techniques include muscle relaxation, deep breathing, mental imagery relaxation, meditation, yoga, and massages.

Getting adequate sleep is also equally important to achieve these stress-reduction and relaxation goals. Accordingly, naps are advisable.

High blood pressure should be treated as early as possible to prevent complications from developing. Early detection and treatment are keys to successfully averting organ damage and reduce the risk of developing heart problems, kidney failure, or strokes. [5]

Alternative Medicine as Treatment for High Blood Pressure

Alternative medicine offers nontraditional ways of lowering blood pressure. In addition to yoga and meditation, acupuncture offers beneficial effects against hypertension.

Herbal remedies, which are available as food supplements, may also be used to lower blood pressure. However, consumers should take note that most herbal products are not approved as drugs by the US Food and Drug Administration.

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Resources

[1] http://www.medicinenet.com/high_blood_pressure_treatment/article.htm

[2] http://www.medicinenet.com/high_blood_pressure_treatment/page2.htm#which_lifestyle_modifications_are_beneficial_in_treating_high_blood_pressure

[3] http://www.medicinenet.com/high_blood_pressure_treatment/page3.htm

[4] http://www.medicinenet.com/high_blood_pressure_treatment/page4.htm

[5] http://www.medicinenet.com/high_blood_pressure_treatment/page5.htm

[6] http://www.medicinenet.com/high_blood_pressure_treatment/page16.htm#is_alternative_medicine_used_to_treat_high_blood_pressure

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