Several years ago, I used to work for a local university hospital. I worked in Research/Family Medicine department. Part of my job involved traveling with a group to various locations statewide. Extremely popular at these events, were the free health screenings that we conducted. One of the most popular, were free blood pressure screenings.
If there was a need, we offered follow up classes (also free) to increase the persons awareness and offer ways to reclaim their health. Three classes were offered, smoking cessation, healthy eating, and weight loss. The clients were encouraged to take the classes appropriate for them. Quite a few were urged to take all three. I enjoyed my time there. It was a great learning experience, I met numerous people and had a chance to interact and give people valuable information on ways they could reclaim their health.
The only thing required of them was to actually make those changes. Of course, that isn’t always easy. Change can be extremely hard. Surrounding yourself with those who are supportive, and are willing to give you a firm, but loving push when needed can be helpful too.
Over the years, I’ve had several people ask me if I could supply them with information on ways can improve their health. (People that are around me for any length of time, know I’m extremely passionate about health.) I always tell them to follow up with their health care provider, if they haven’t already done so, and I’ll try to include tips or at least point to a service that can assist them with their needs. Over the past few weeks, Celebrate Life has received a variety of health related questions. In time, I’ll be including a few of the questions asked (along with my answers) on this site.
Below, I’ve included one of the questions I received regarding high blood pressure.
Question: Help! My blood pressure is high, can you suggest any tips on lowering it naturally?
What is High Blood Pressure?
High Blood Pressure (or hypertension) is a serious medical condition in which the blood pressure remains unusually high. If it’s left untreated it can be a risk factor for cerebrovascular diseases as well as coronoary heart disease.
Fact: Many people don’t know they have high blood pressure
According to statistics, one in three adults has high blood pressure. Many of them don’t know it. We saw this a lot during our free health screenings. This is why high blood pressure has often been called the silent killer. It’s important to get your blood pressure checked to make sure it falls within the normal range. If it is left unchecked high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure.
Six ways you can naturally lower your blood pressure
- Lose the weight
If you are overweight, change your eating habits. Almost everyone will see a reduction in their blood pressure if they shed a few pounds. The weight isn’t coming off overnight, it took a while to pack on those pounds so it’s going to take some time to melt them away too. Clean up your diet, start selecting healthier food options and exercise into your lifestyle, Be consistent you want healthy eating habits combined with exercise to become a habit.
Despite what the media might portray, weight loss shouldn’t be just about vanity. You want to maintain an ideal weight to prevent some of the health related issues associated with being overweight. That said, even if you are at your ideal weight you can have high blood pressure, or other health related diseases too.
- Add DASH to your daily eating habits
Dash stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. How are you going to do this? Increase the fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low fat or fat free dairy products in your eating lifestyle. You want to reduce the cholesterol causing foods, fat, red meat, and sodium. Start reading labels, educate yourself on what you’re reading and making healthy changes to in your eating habits.
Why does DASH work? This diet is packed with vitamins and minerals which our bodies crave. The foods offered in DASH are naturally good for your body making them a powerful tool in getting lowering your blood pressure. The DASH diet has proven to lower blood pressure in just fourteen days.
The foods we eat play an important role on our health. In many cases we don’t see the results from our unhealthy eating habits until much later. If you’re not making healthy eating choices you are nutritionally starving your body.
- Reduce the sodium/salt
In 1997 the Trials of Hypertension Prevention, Phase II (TOHP II) it was found that blood pressure was lowered by reducing the amount of sodium in the diet and losing weight. Reducing, or eliminating sodium can be extremely challenging.
I’ve listed a few salt alternatives. Check them out.
Salt free options
- Garlic powder (not garlic salt)
- lemon juice
- lime juice
- roasted garlic
- Unsalted (and ground) sunflower seeds or sesame seeds
You don’t have to go to the gym to have a good workout there are numerous exercises that you can do effectively at home. Walking, gardening, push ups, jumping jacks, running in place, following a fitness video, etc., are just a few of the ways you can workout from the convenience of your home. You’ve got to move to exercise, so start doing it.
Studies show that high stress may affect your blood pressure. Think of ways that you can eliminate the stressors in your life. Even better, don’t let issues you encounter take control of your life. I meditate, exercise, play with my daughter, read, listen to music, etc.,
- Reduce your alcohol consumption
Drinking excessively or binge drinking can lead to a stroke. Studies say that people who drink an excessive amount of alcohol (over two cups per day) increase their risk of high blood pressure. If you’re going to drink do so in moderation limit your intake to two glasses per day.
Stay focused and educating yourself, is a great way that you can start taking control of your health. Check out support groups either locally or online. Support is extremely helpful, and it can build a since of comraderie interacting with those experieincing similar issues. Change can be hard so don’t beat yourself up if you make slipups think about the reasons why you went back into old habits and try to come up with ways to avoid them happening again.
If you don’t take action, your high blood pressure won’t go away. Continung to ignore your condition can lead to other conditions such as kidney failure, heart diseases, heart failure, stroke, and other health related issues.
Although this article is focused on people suffering from High Blood Pressure, I believe we all can learn from it too. In the Westernized culture, statistics show that many people need to make changes in their health, and step up their exercise routine too. We have only one body; it makes sense to ensure that it is maintained correctly. If you’re not already, think of ways you can modify your lifestyle choices, so that you can eliminate the potential health related issues associated with bad habits.
Question: What improvements do you want to make in your lifestyle? Have you made improvements already, if so leave us a comment.