Keeping yourself healthy is always a good thing, and keeping your blood pressure at a normal rate is important, especially as you get older. A huge cause of death across the world, being lumped with high blood pressure is never a treat and could result in regular medication to manage it.
Here’s all you need to know about blood pressure.
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury, abbreviated as mm Hg.
There are two numbers that are read, the top number representing the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats.
The bottom number standing for the pressure in your blood vessels between beats, when your heart is resting.
Your blood pressure depends on how much blood your heart is pumping, and how much resistance there is to blood flow in your arteries.
The narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
What is a normal blood pressure measurement?
Blood pressure lower than 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal.
Blood pressure which is 130/80 mm Hg or more is considered high.
If your numbers are above normal but under 130/80 mm Hg, you fall into the category of elevated blood pressure, which means you’re at risk for developing high blood pressure.
Luckily, there are many ways you can make an active change in order to lower your blood pressure and maintain a healthy life:
1. If you’re a smoker, quit
Stopping smoking is good for your all-around health.
Smoking causes an immediate but temporary increase in your blood pressure and an increase in your heart rate.
In the long term, the chemicals in tobacco can increase your blood pressure by damaging your blood vessel walls.
This causes inflammation and narrows your arteries.
The hardened arteries cause higher blood pressure.
2. Give meditation or yoga a go
Mindfulness and meditation, including transcendental meditation, have long been used as methods to reduce stress.
Yoga, which commonly involves breathing control, posture, and meditation techniques, can also be effective in reducing stress and blood pressure.
3. Exercise more often
If you regularly exercise, this increases your heart and breathing rates, which will help your heart get stronger over time.
This puts less pressure on your arteries and lowers your blood pressure.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to start competing in triathlons, around 40 minutes of movement, three to four times a week is enough.
Small changes to your life can add up to 40 minutes, which could include things like using the stairs instead of the lift, walking or cycling instead of getting a taxi or driving, playing a team sport with friends or even going for a swim.
4. Get enough sleep
Your blood pressure typically dips down when you’re sleeping.
If you don’t sleep well, it can impact your blood pressure.
People who experience sleep deprivation, especially those who are middle-aged, have an increased risk of high blood pressure.
5. Lose weight if your BMI classes you as overweight or obese
If you’re overweight, losing as little as a stone can reduce your blood pressure.
Plus, it’s better for your overall health and will lower your risk for other medical problems.
6. Cut back on sugar and processed carbohydrates
Many scientific studies show that restricting sugar and refined carbohydrates can help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure.
Limiting sugary treats and unhealthy starchy snacks such as hash browns, french fries or mac and cheese can help you out in the long run.
You shouldn’t cut them out completely, but cutting down a little can only be beneficial.
Another positive of a low-carb, low-sugar diet is that you feel fuller longer because you’re consuming more protein and fat.
9. Take some supplements
Omega-3 fatty acid
Adding omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids or fish oil to your diet can have many benefits.
This protein complex derived from milk may have several health benefits, in addition to possibly lowering blood pressure
Magnesium deficiency is related to higher blood pressure.
Studies have found reductions in blood pressure with magnesium supplementation.
10. Drink less alcohol
Alcohol can raise your blood pressure, even if you’re healthy.
It’s important to drink in moderation.
Alcohol can raise your blood pressure by one milimetre Hg for each 10 grams of alcohol consumed, with a standard drink containing 14 grams of alcohol.
But what constitutes a standard drink? A pint of beer, a glass of wine, or a single spirit mixer tends to fall into this category, so be wary of the effect it could have on you in later life.