Diet and Nutrition

What is Blood Pressure, and How Is Blood Pressure Lowered?

What is Blood Pressure, and How Is Blood Pressure Lowered?

Key Takeaways

  • Hypertension, along with other medical conditions like diabetes, is a deadly condition that can pose a number of health risks.
  • Constantly having your blood pressure checked will ensure that you never cross the threshold of the normal range of blood pressure.

Modern day lifestyle does come with the risk of certain disease that is a result of everyday stress, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and so on. While we are all aware of these diseases, we fail to take timely steps to prevent them from happening to us, and, by the time these strike, it is often too late. The belief that it may not happen to an individual is a case of ignorance.

Blood pressure is one such health risk that is increasing day by day. It takes more and more people into its grip. It doesn't matter if you are young or old, a man or a woman; this disease can happen to anyone who takes his health lightly.

What is Blood Pressure?

To understand high blood pressure, it is first important to understand what blood pressure is and that which it indicates. When the heart beats, it pumps the blood all around the body to give it the required energy and oxygen that keep all its functions going. When the blood moves around the body, it travels through the blood vessels and pushes against the walls of the blood vessels. The force with which the blood moves around in these blood vessels is the blood pressure. If your blood pressure is beyond the normal range, then it puts extra pressure on the arteries and in turn the heart, which eventually increases one’s chances of a heart attack or a stroke.

The blood pressure readings are recorded on two parameters that consist of two numbers, one number being on top of the other. The reading number on top is called the systolic blood pressure, which is the highest reading of blood pressure recorded when your heart beats to pump blood. The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure reading, which is the lowest level of blood pressure recorded when the heart relaxes while pumping blood.

What Are the Implications of High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It is a medical condition that puts extra pressure on the heart and the blood vessels carrying the blood. This eventually causes the heart and the blood vessels to become weaker or get damaged.

As the blood pressure readings keep going the higher, the risk of various health problems arising also keeps growing higher. High blood pressure can have the following implications for your overall health:

The Heart: Blood pressure directly impacts the functioning of the heart. A high blood pressure can cause serious situations like a heart attack. It can also cause a heart failure, which can be fatal in a number of cases.

The Brain: High blood pressure is the most common cause of a stroke. High blood pressure impacts the nerves situated in the brain and can impact its functioning. High blood pressure is also the leading cause of dementia in a number of cases.

The Kidneys: High blood pressure has a direct implication on the functioning of the kidneys, too. Untreated high blood pressure can cause immense pressure to build up in the kidneys, which can be the start of kidney disease, which, in some cases, can turn into a serious kidney failure.

The Limbs: High blood pressure can result in peripheral arterial disease. This is a condition that is known to impact the legs.

In case you are also suffering from other health conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol, then you are a higher risk of various health complications. In such a situation, it becomes even more important for you to keep your blood pressure under check.

Best Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Hypertension is a long-term disease, and one gets enough and more time to recognize the symptoms and take corrective steps early to control the disease from worsening. However, one should constantly keep checking their blood pressure regularly so as to prevent it from being high too long. Here are some simple measures one can take to keep blood pressure under check.

Keep your weight under control

Maintaining a healthy weight that is ideal for your body structure is one of the best ways to prevent high blood pressure and its complications. When you are above the weight that your body can handle, you are putting extra strain on the way your heart pumps the blood. Hence, losing extra weight would be the key to regulating your blood pressure and bringing it within the normal range. High blood pressure and obesity are both linked, and they create a dangerous combination, as they can result in multiple health conditions, causing poor blood circulation in the body, stressing the bones and the joints, and of course putting extra strain on the heart. All of these factors cause high blood pressure, and hence it becomes a vicious cycle.

Keep a watch on your BMI readings

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure that defines what your body weight should be corresponding to your height. Therefore, if you are unsure about how much weight you need to lose, you should get your BMI and waistline checked. Both of these readings give you a picture of how overweight you are, which helps you set a target on how much weight you should be losing.

Exercise regularly

The best way to keep your blood pressure under check is by incorporating a healthy workout and exercise routine. Simple exercises like swimming, walking, or running are the best ways to safely reduce hypertension.

Having a workout routine helps in improving the blood circulation in your body, increases the functioning of your lungs and heart, and helps you keep various factors like stress at bay. Studies have shown that a workout sends out certain happy signals to the neurotransmitters that are situated in the brain. This, in turn, helps you manage your moods, stay happy, and keep stress, which is the biggest enemy of hypertension, at bay.

Reduce the salt in your diet

Salt is considered to be slow poison for those suffering from high blood pressure. According to studies, reduction of salt from everyday diet, even by a few milligrams, can make a considerable difference in the blood pressure levels. Salt levels are very high in most of the foods that are made in a restaurant or that are found in packed and processed foods.

According to the American Heart Association, the sodium intake for a healthy person should not exceed 1500 mg every day.

Manage your stress levels

Stress can shoot up your blood pressure levels in no time, even if it is temporary. While stress is an inevitable part of our lives, it is important to keep your stress levels controlled, as stress can cause you to be overweight, and that in turn can increase your blood pressure levels.

A number of activities can help your mind calm down and fight back the stress. Incorporate these into your everyday routine, and help keep your stress levels and blood pressure down.

Eating a balanced meal with a mix of everything is also an important and healthy way to keep stress levels down. Indulge in light forms of relaxation, like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, or music therapy to help your mind calm down and break away from the stress. Chamomile tea is considered to be extremely beneficial in reducing stress levels in the body.

All of these above tips not only help in reducing high blood pressure but also go a long way in preventing the disease. The key is to start early and start young before the disease takes over your body and hampers your functioning.