Proactively controlling your blood pressure is very important to your long term health. Picture Shutterstock
Proactively controlling your blood pressure is very important to your long term health. Picture Shutterstock

Approximately one third of Australian adults have high blood pressure, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. That amounts to more than 8 million people.

Over time, high blood pressure increases your risk of various medical issues, including:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Kidney disease
  • Vision loss
  • Dementia

The risk of developing these complications are greater when high blood pressure is accompanied-as it often is-by other chronic conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol.

Thus, proactively controlling your blood pressure is very important to your long term health. In this article, we discuss seven things you can do to reduce your blood pressure naturally.

They can be done in combination with prescription medication, or, if your blood pressure is only slightly elevated, on their own.

First let's define high blood pressure, aka hypertension.

What is high blood pressure?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you have hypertension if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90.

The top number - called systolic blood pressure-measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The second number - diastolic - measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.

People with hypertension are advised to monitor their blood pressure at home. For this you will need your own blood pressure machine. You can purchase one from your local chemist or over the internet. If you buy online, be sure to compare couriers in Brisbane to get the best delivery quote.

Note that machines with cuffs that wrap around your arm are more accurate than machines that go around your wrist.

What are the risk factors for hypertension?

Below are common factors that raise the likelihood of developing high blood pressure.

  • Diabetes
  • Poor diet
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Being overweight
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Genetics
  • Old age

Some of these risk factors are beyond your control, but most of them can be addressed with positive lifestyle changes. Which brings us to the next section.

How to naturally lower your blood pressure

Depending on how high your blood pressure is, you may need to take prescription medication to keep it in check. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't incorporate natural remedies into your daily routine. Doing so can make it so that you don't need as much medication. Also, these lifestyle changes are good for your overall health, not just your blood pressure.

Here are seven ways to lower your blood pressure naturally.

Physical activity is good for your whole system. In particular, it keeps your heart healthy. Regular exercise is associated with reduced blood pressure. In general, you should try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each day. Examples include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Swimming

As you build up your fitness, you should gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Strength training (e.g. weights and bodyweight exercises) can lower your blood pressure as well.

Being overweight is a major risk factor for high blood pressure. Excess weight around the waist is particularly harmful in this respect. You should aim to lose weight naturally. That means regular physical activity and a healthy diet consisting mostly of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Losing even a small amount of weight can have a positive effect on your blood pressure.

Deep breathing (also called rhythmic breathing or controlled breathing) exercises have been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure. There are many different types of deep breathing practices, which come from yoga. One example is the 4-7-8 breathing technique in which you inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight seconds.

There is even a medical device called Resperate that promotes controlled breathing. It is specifically designed to reduce blood pressure. You can buy Resperate online without a prescription and have it delivered by one of the many courier and freight Brisbane services.

Tobacco, in all of its forms, raises your blood pressure. Smoking in particular is bad for your blood pressure because of the carbon monoxide produced by the combustion that occurs when you light a cigarette. If you're having trouble quitting smoking, consider using a cessation tool such as an e-cigarette.

Poor diet is directly linked to high blood pressure, especially diets high in sodium, refined sugar, and processed meat. Excessive caffeine can also increase blood pressure. By cutting down on these things and upping your intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, you'll be doing your heart a big favour. You should also incorporate more potassium and magnesium into your diet.

High blood pressure is one of many negative health consequences of drinking too much alcohol. Official guidelines advise men and women to limit their alcohol consumption to two drinks per day and one drink per day, respectively.

Note that certain types of alcohol, such as red wine, can be beneficial for your cardiovascular health. But only when consumed in moderation.

Manage your stress levels

Stress is a killer. In addition to making you feel terrible, it can cause serious health problems down the road, including high blood pressure. Effectively managing your stress and anxiety has an enormous impact on your general well-being and quality of life.

The best way to do this is through natural means, as opposed to medication. Exercise, deep breathing, and aromatherapy are all proven to help lower stress and anxiety. Improving your diet and getting more sleep can also make a big difference.

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