Hypertension is a condition that can be very well managed with small lifestyle changes, limiting the need for medication. Lowering your blood pressure reduces the risk of several other serious health conditions, including renal failure, stroke, and coronary heart disease.
Dr Ratan Kumar Vaish, Senior Consultant Physician with Astha Multi Speciality Center, Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, shares some useful tips that you can apply in your daily life to manage high blood pressure.
1. Eating right
No matter how much medication you have been prescribed, nothing has a more positive impact on blood pressure than having the right kind of food. Eating healthy food offers maximum benefits in controlling random fluctuations in blood pressure. Dr Vaish suggests that hypertensive patients must control their cravings for salty and fatty foods. Avoiding junk food, including packaged and processed food, is the best way to manage blood pressure. Include more and more natural foods such as nuts, fruits, and vegetables in your diet.
2. Drink plenty of water
According to Dr Vaish, apart from avoiding unhealthy food, hypertensive patients must also drink plenty of water throughout the day. “When you are well-hydrated, your body doesn’t have to retain sodium to secure the lack of fluid. It is the best natural way to keep blood pressure under control,” he explains.
3. Get enough sleep
Stress is one of the major contributors to random fluctuations in blood pressure among hypertensive patients. Dr Ratan says, “Increasing stress due to the kind of fast-paced lifestyle we live often manifests as a lack of enough sleep and this could be extremely dangerous in people with hypertension. Hypertensive patients must get a minimum of six hours of sound sleep daily,” Dr Vaish says. “I emphasize that if you have been diagnosed with hypertension, then you must avoid night shifts or work patterns that disrupt your sleep schedule. Minimize the use of gadgets and electronic devices like mobile phones and television. Find ways to lead a stress-free life,” he adds.
The benefits of exercising in preventing and controlling lifestyle-related disorders are overwhelming. If you are overweight, exercise daily to lose those extra pounds. Exercising helps improve blood circulation and breathing, thereby keeping blood pressure under control. You can start with brisk walking, cycling or swimming, and then gradually add strength training exercises to your routine to reap maximum benefits through physical activity.
5. Avoid smoking and drinking
Smoking has an immediate effect on blood pressure due to the presence of nicotine in cigarettes. Studies have shown that hypertensive patients recorded an increase in blood pressure within a few minutes of smoking. Conversely quitting smoking shows a tangible reduction in random increases in blood pressure, keeping hypertension under control.
Alcohol can also increase your blood pressure, especially if consumed in large quantities. Moreover, it may also interfere with medication meant to control blood pressure, reducing its effectiveness. Remember, when it comes to alcohol, moderation is the key.
6. Improve your emotional and mental health
Nowadays, detachment and loneliness among people are on the rise. And an increasing number of people prefer to combat it by living busy lives. This may also be one of the main reasons for personal and emotional stress and depression, all of which contribute to hypertension. “Spend some time with your near and dear ones,” Dr Vaish suggests, “And stay away from gadgets and phones to keep stress at bay.”.