The month of May is designated High Blood Pressure Awareness Month. As someone who was diagnosed with hypertension, getting your blood pressure under control takes dedication and patience. While 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure, only 1 in 2 of those diagnosed have it under control. Consequently, the repercussions of untreated hypertension range from stroke, heart attack, dementia, and kidney failure. While medication is absolutely necessary for those with hypertension, using alternative practices and better life choices can help and prevent reaching these levels.
|Normal||Below 120||Below 80|
|Elevated (pre-hypertension)||120-129||Below 80|
|Stage 1 Hypertension||130-139||80-90|
|Stage 2 Hypertension||140 or above||90 or above|
|Hypertensive Crisis||Over 180||Over 120|
- Blurred/double vision
- Heart palpitations
Generally speaking, treating hypertension requires daily medication. Specifically, diuretics, beta-blockers, ace inhibitors, ARBs, or calcium channel blockers are the most common. Each of these medications come with its own side effects, but generally include:
- Erection problems
- Feeling nervous
- Feeling tired, weak, drowsy, or a lack of energy
- Nausea or vomiting
- Skin rash
- Weight loss or gain
Medication is crucial once blood pressure has reached the point of hypertensive. Take action now and try these healthy life habits and practices.
Ultimately, a healthy and balanced diet can help prevent and treat hypertension. Dieticians recommend eating plant-based foods, lowering salt intake to less than 5-6 grams per day, and incorporating healthy fats.
More specifically, here are 15 foods that are recommended for lowering blood pressure:
- Dark chocolate
- Leafy green vegetables
- Fermented foods
- Natural yogurt
Alongside your diet, your daily habits can also play a large role in your health. In the long run, stress, smoking, and poor exercise can have negative effects on your blood pressure. Caffeine and alcohol consumption has been proven to increase blood pressure, as well.
Here are ways you can manage stress, and in turn, reduce your blood pressure:
- Reducing alcohol, drugs, and caffeine
- Healthier nutrition
- Prioritizing your time
- Take time out of the day to relax
- Focus on breathing techniques
- Talking and sharing feelings and concerns
- Acknowledging signs of anxiety
Meditation and yoga have been used for years to relieve stress and reduce inflammation. Studies show that, in addition to all these benefits, yoga can also help hypertension. With this in mind, some specific yoga poses that help hypertension are: