Hypertension affects 1 in 3 Indian adults: Here are 5 natural ways to control high blood pressure  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Lifestyle modifications can significantly reduce elevated blood pressure and lowr your risk of complications
- Research suggests that hypertension is an independent, modifiable risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease
- Here a cardiologist suggests a few tips to help lower your blood pressure levels
New Delhi: High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of mortality worldwide. According to health experts, hypertension is a serious condition affecting one in three Indian adults, causing up to 1.6 million deaths every year. Hypertension is often known to be a silent killer as the symptoms are not visible until a significant amount of damage is incurred. The organs that get damaged by uncontrolled blood pressure are the heart, blood vessels, kidney, brain and the eyes. Furthermore, the damage to the arteries can eventually contribute to a heart attack since they are responsible for supplying the heart muscle with blood.
With definite treatment, hypertension can be controlled. However, it is imperative to make a few lifestyle changes that can help control high blood pressure as well as reduce the odds of life-threatening complications – such as heart failure, stroke and kidney failure.
Lifestyle changes you can make to manage high blood pressure
Here are some tips suggested by Dr Gopi Aniyathodiyil, Director, Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, Bangalore, to help lower blood pressure levels:
- Watch what you consume: Following a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and skimping on saturated fat and cholesterol can help in lowering your blood pressure levels. Apart from monitoring what you eat, keep a check on how much and when do you eat. Additionally, increase your potassium intake as they can reduce the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The ideal source of potassium is fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly: If you have high blood pressure, exercising for about 30 minutes every day can help lower your blood pressure by about 5 to 8 mm of Hg. Ensure that you are consistent with an exercise routine, as an interrupted exercise routine is likely to spike your blood pressure again. Cycling, jogging, swimming, dancing, high-intensity interval training, and strength training can help lower high blood pressure. Remember that if you have elevated blood pressure, exercise can help you in controlling it. Exercise also helps in maintaining appropriate body weight, which also is helpful to control the blood pressure
- Reduce caffeine intake: The effect of caffeine on blood pressure has been a topic of debate for years. Caffeine can increase blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg in people who are infrequent consumers. However, people who drink coffee regularly may experience little or no effect on their blood pressure. That said, to check if caffeine plays a role in increasing your blood pressure, monitor your pressure within 30 minutes of consuming a caffeinated beverage. In case the blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, you are likely to be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Moderate drinking of alcohol can potentially lower your blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg but is not advised since the overall harmful effect far outweighs the benefits. Also, drinking more than adequate quantity can spike your blood pressure by several points. Furthermore, it can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
- Try and reduce stress levels: Chronic stress and occasional stress (your reaction to stress by consuming unhealthy food, drinking alcohol, or smoking) can contribute to high blood pressure. Thus, it is advisable to avoid unnecessary stress by identifying the factors that trigger your stress levels and eliminate them accordingly.
While following these guidelines will help control your blood pressure levels, consulting your medical professional, and regularly monitoring your blood pressure level is advisable.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.